Whitacre to keep CEO role at GM

"This place needs some stability," the General Motors boss Ed Whitacre declared yesterday. "I guess that's me."

The bailed-out car company's chairman, who has been acting as interim chief executive since sacking Fritz Henderson in December, said that he will be keeping the chief executive role on a permanent basis.

The eight-week search for a successor ended last week with a board meeting that decided the telecoms industry veteran would be a better candidate than anyone else, as GM seeks to return itself to health and pay back tens of billions of dollars in government aid by June this year. The company, whose brands include Chevrolet and Vauxhall, is controlled by the US government, after having gone bankrupt last year.

Mr Whitacre is the first chief executive in GM's history not to come from the car industry, and has moved quickly to shake up what he believes are complacent management practices at the company's troubled North American operations.

The board decided a period of stability was preferable, having seen the departure of two chief executives in 2009, and the Texan executive is expected to stay in the job for about two years.