June 9, 2009

GM names former AT&T chief as chairman

Bankrupt U.S. automaker General Motors Corp. said former AT&T Chief Executive Officer Edward Whitacre Jr. would take over as the company's new chairman.

Interim Chairman Kent Kresa would continue to serve on the board, but six other board members would step aside while the company is in bankruptcy, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Four board members would be retained, as would Chief Executive Officer Frederick Fritz Henderson, the company said.

Previous Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner resigned in March under government pressure that the automaker, which filed for bankruptcy June 1, needed new leadership.

I am honored to be able to serve GM at this critical juncture and take part in its reinvention, Whitacre said.

He takes over while the company is in an unprecedented downsizing. GM has said it would close 14 factories this year and lay off 21,000 workers. A government-backed plan in bankruptcy court calls for a federal infusion of $30.1 billion on top of $19.4 billion the government has already loaned to the company.

If the plan holds, the government will own 60 percent of GM when it emerges from bankruptcy.