Akerson has not given any hints as to when he might step down, but insiders expect him to depart by early 2015. Four lead candidates have emerged to replace him: Vice Chairman Stephen Girsky, Chief Financial Officer Daniel Ammann, head of North American operations Mark Reuss and global product development head Mary Barra. All four candidates are younger than 55, the Wall Street Journal notes.
Ammann and Girsky have been part of senior management for years. By contrast, Barra and Reuss have only recently become top executives.
GM, which went bankrupt in 2009 and received a massive government bailout, is turning a profit again, but hasn’t streamlined its operations enough to boost profit margins as high as rival Ford (F), which survived the Financial Crisis without government intervention.
There is no indication which of the four potential successors has the lead at the moment, but its board could face pressure from investors to seek candidates from outside its current management team if its performance does not improve.
Shares of GM fell modestly in Wednesday morning trading.