GM CEO: top woman executive a potential successor

Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:29pm EDT
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By Nick Tate

PALM BEACH, Florida (Reuters) - The boss of General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote) said on Monday the automaker's most senior woman executive is one of his potential successors, adding that women deal with change better than men and GM still has a lot of changes to make since its 2009 bankruptcy and $50 billion government bailout.

GM Chief Executive Dan Akerson also said he did not know whether taxpayers would get their money back, though the automaker is generating record profits.

Akerson said it was critical for the world's largest automaker to boost the ranks of its top female executives.

He said Mary Barra, 50, the Detroit company's global product development chief overseeing a $15 billion operation, is a candidate to succeed him.

"I wouldn't be surprised if she were, but I wouldn't handicap it today and I think there are a good number of candidates," Akerson, 63, told a Wall Street Journal conference in Palm Beach, Florida, that discussed women in the economy.

"It's the board's job (to pick a replacement), not mine."

Akerson also said the U.S. Treasury, which still owns slightly more than a quarter of GM's outstanding stock, was not involved in decision making. "I know I've done things that have annoyed the U.S. Treasury."

Asked if taxpayers will get their money back, Akerson replied: "I don't know."   Continued...

File photo of Mary Barra, General Motors Co's global product development chief
. REUTERS/Mike Cassese