DETROIT, Wed Jan 23, 2013 — General Motors Co.’s North American president, Mark Reuss, was considered for the top job at the U.S. automaker in 2010 before his lack of seasoning led the board to the current chief executive, Dan Akerson, according to an excerpt from a forthcoming book by GM’s former CEO, Ed Whitacre.
As GM, which restructured in bankruptcy with the help of a $50 billion U.S. taxpayer bailout, moved toward its fall 2010 initial public offering, Whitacre told the board he would not continue as CEO. His idea for his replacement was Reuss, according to the excerpt published on Wednesday by Fortune magazine.
“Mark had zoomed up the executive chain in record time; he went from midlevel engineer to the No. 2 person in the company in the space of a year, more or less,” Whitacre said of Reuss. “The plus was that Mark was showing a lot of poise and management potential. The downside was that he hadn’t been in the job long enough to prove himself as a CEO.”
Whitacre’s book, “American Turnaround: Reinventing AT&T and GM and the Way We Do Business in the USA,” is scheduled to be published early next month.
GM announced Whitacre’s exit in August 2010, and Akerson assumed leadership of the Detroit company the following month.
Reuss declined to comment on Whitacre’s book.
GM said the comments were Whitacre’s and the company was focused on the future.