Ex-AT&T CEO Whitacre Stepping Down as GM Head

Former AT&T Inc. CEO Ed Whitacre Jr. said Thursday hes resigning as head of General Motors but will remain as chairman.

Whitacre has served as CEO of the bailed-out GM since January of this year, although the Obama administration hired him as chairman in July 2009. The carmaker just reported a second straight quarter of profit and plans to return to Wall Street soon as a publicly traded company.

On that news, Whitacre, who wasnt expected to stay as CEO for the long term, said hes stepping down. Board member Dan Akerson, another ex-telecom-sector player, will replace him.

“It was my plan all along to help return this company to greatness and that I didn’t want to stay a day beyond that,” Whitacre said on a conference call with analysts. “The transition will be very smooth.”

Akerson now works as a managing director at buyout firm Carlyle Group. But he has extensive experience in the telecom field. For example, he was CFO and COO at MCI in the early 1990s before becoming CEO of Nextel Communications, now owned by Sprint Nextel Corp. After that, Akerson worked as CEO of XO Communications, which he led during the CLECs bankruptcy restructuring.

Akerson will take over Whitacres CEO job on Sept. 1.

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