13 Aug 2010

GM chief executive to retire

6:16 am on 13 August 2010

General Motors chief executive Edward Whitacre intends to resign.

He will leave the role in September, after taking over last year to guide the company through restructuring.

Mr Whitacre will hand over to current board member Dan Akerson, but will stay on as chairman until the end of the year.

Earlier, GM reported second-quarter profits of $US1.6 billion, the company's biggest profit in six years.

They also mark the second consecutive quarter of profits, following big losses in 2009, when it was forced to seek bankruptcy protection.

It was also forced to seek support from the federal government to allow it to emerge from bankruptcy and restructure.

The company said the results showed "sustained progress" in the turnaround of the company.

Announcing his resignation, Mr Whitacre said he had achieved what he set out to do on joining GM in July last year.

"My goal in coming to General Motors was to help restore profitability, build a strong market position, and position this company for success (and) we are clearly on that path," he said.

The BBC reports the company is still 61% owned by the United States and Canadian governments, which took equity stakes in return for financial help last year.

GM has cut more than 65,000 jobs in the US and closed factories in an attempt to cut costs.

It has also sold its Saab brand and wound down others, though it has retained its European brands, Opel and Vauxhall.