General Motors CEO Dan Akerson Reveals His Succession Preference

April 24, 2012

General Motors Co. CEO Dan Akerson says he's not talking succession with the board, but that he prefers it tap an internal candidate when it is time for him to move on.

"My preference would be for it to be an internal candidate just because as you might expect, in any company in any industry, it's less disruptive," Akerson said in Beijing during his keynote address at the 2012 Automotive News China Conference, which is hosted by Workforce Management sister publication Auto News.

Akerson, 63—who joined GM in 2009 after it emerged from bankruptcy and became its chief executive the following year—said the board, not he, should choose the next CEO.

He told the Wall Street Journal earlier this month that GM vice chairman Steve Girsky, a former industry analyst, is among internal candidates with a shot at replacing him as CEO. North America chief Mark Reuss and global product head Mary Barra are also possibilities, the paper said.

Akerson didn't say how long he wanted to stay in the job. But he did hint at the time frame: two to five years.

"I owe the board, as every CEO does, what happens if I get run over today? What would I recommend you do, tomorrow," Akerson said. "But that's not what we're really worried about. We're worried about what happens two to five years from now."

Hans Greimel writes for Automotive News, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email

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