GM’s Whitacre sends memo to employees, says he was planning to step down from the start

General Motors Chairman and CEO Edward E. Whitacre

In a letter to GM employees regarding his decision to step down as Chairman and CEO of General Motors, Ed Whitacre said that he was preparing for the day ever since he joined the company.

” It was never the plan for me to be the long-term CEO and Chairman, which the Board knew and understood,” Whitacre said.

Steve Rattner, the former Wall Street banker who was the head of the U.S. Treasury’s reorganization of General Motors and Chrysler, said yesterday that the abrupt resignation of Whitacre “shows him as a man who meant what he said.”

“From the beginning, Ed made it clear he was willing to help out but he wasn’t willing to have another long run as CEO,” Rattner said. “Whitacre was a retired CEO of ATT when he was tapped by the U.S. to reconstitute GM.”

Rattner also said that the “country and the company are lucky to have Akerson.” He said that Akerson has “been on the board for a year and is intimately familiar with the company works and the challenges it faces.”

You can read Whitacre’s letter to GM employees after the jump.

August 12, 2010

Today, I announced my decision to step down as CEO of General Motors, effective September 1, and then as Chairman by the end of this year. Dan Akerson, who currently serves on the GM Board, will assume both roles.

I have been preparing for this day ever since I came to General Motors. It was never the plan for me to be the long-term CEO and Chairman, which the Board knew and understood.

But that doesn”t make today any easier for me.

My goal in coming to General Motors was to help restore profitability, build a strong market position and prepare this iconic company for success. While we have more to do, it is fair to say that GM is headed on that path. Our earnings for the last two quarters show that. Our strong sales show that. And the enthusiasm from everyone I meet at GM shows that.

We are on the right track. And I have complete confidence that Dan Akerson will keep us moving forward. Dan is committed to GM; he”s been a key player in the decisions our Board has made over the last year. He will do a great job, and deserves your complete support.

I have enjoyed my time as CEO of GM more than I can say, and I am pleased to stay on as Chairman through the end of the year. I am excited about this company and I want you to know that it is the people of GM who make this a very special place. You are the best, and I truly appreciate all you do.

Thank you for the privilege of leading this great company. I am anxious to see the new heights that you will achieve as you continue focusing on designing, building and selling the world”s best vehicles.

Ed Whitacre

– By: Omar Rana

Source: Free Press, AutObserver