GM Combines Roles of CEO and Chair

by The Corporate Library, January 26, 2010.

We learned yesterday that the GM board has approved the combining of the roles of CEO and Chair of the Board as the government-named board chair Edward E. Whitacre, Jr., will assume the position of permanent CEO. Whitacre had been serving as interim CEO since early December.

I could go on and on here about my continued surprise at the number of “interim CEOs” in place at US companies.  This is something that has always bothered me because of the clear indication it gives that the boards of these companies have not focused on one of their most important responsibilities: succession planning for the CEO position.

But, with GM, there is a more disturbing issue to discuss – the combination of the roles of CEO and Chair of the Board.  As Kristin Gribben of Agenda noted, “The government is still the largest GM shareholder and was involved in splitting the roles at the company. It’s somewhat surprising, therefore, that the GM board would decide to combine the positions.”…(continue reading)


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