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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Dan Akerson era with General Motors off to subdued start

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Dan Akerson era with General Motors off to subdued start

No official message sent to employees

BY CHRISSIE THOMPSON

FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

Dan Akerson began his tenure as General Motors' CEO quietly Wednesday, although a chance for GM workers to hear his voice is coming.

Akerson had already been in town each of the last two weeks, meeting with executives and preparing to take the reins from outgoing CEO Ed Whitacre.

So on Wednesday, Akerson's official first day, GM employees didn't receive so much as an e-mail announcing his installment as CEO.

But GM has a plan for Akerson to communicate with employees over the next several weeks, a spokesman said on condition of anonymity.

Akerson is GM's fourth CEO since March 2009. Given the turmoil in GM management, a quiet start that shows business as usual is understandable for a short time, said Gerald Meyers, who was CEO of Jeep's former parent company, American Motors.

"A brief period of finding out where the men's room is -- OK," Meyers said, noting that GM is setting its own standard for how to introduce four CEOs in a year and a half. "But after that, open up and let the world know who this person is. Let them get a feel for his style and for his direction."

Akerson has interacted with some GM workers in his 13 months on the GM board, a post he volunteered for during GM's bankruptcy last year.

The former telecommunications executive, who had worked in private equity with the Carlyle Group since March 2003, became CEO after Whitacre told the board he couldn't commit to much longer. The board was looking for a CEO to stay on past GM's return to the New York Stock Exchange, expected late this year.

Read more: Dan Akerson era with General Motors off to subdued start | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20100902/BUSINESS0101/9020359/1210/Business01/Dan-Akerson-era-with-General-Motors-off-to-subdued-start#ixzz0yNOCHAlJ

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