The ailing US car giant General Motors has made changes at the top as it searches for a route back to health. Fritz Henderson spent his whole career at GM, taking over as chief executive in March when his predecessor was forced out during the Obama administrations’ multi-billion dollar bailout of the American car industry.
Chairman Ed Whitacre takes over in the short-term as GM looks for a replacement. “The momentum has been building in our company over the past several months, but we’ve all agreed that some changes are needed to be made going forward,” he said. “To this end, I have taken over the role of chairman and CEO while a search for a new president and CEO begins immediately.” The US government holds a majority stake in GM but did not play a direct role in Henderson’s demise. All three American car giants are now headed by Detroit outsiders: Ford’s Alan Mullaly came from Boeing while Chrysler is led by Fiat’s Sergio Marchionne. And boardroom changes are not GM’s only concern – the company will decide by the end of the year what to do with its Swedish subsidiary, Saab. A deal to sell the marque to sports car minnow Koenigsegg fell through, and GM said prospective bidders have four weeks to make an offer or Saab will finally run come to the end of the road. Most industry observers accept that closure is the most likely option, with the loss of at least 8,000 jobs.