Former GM CEO Akerson unaware of cultural issues image

Dan Akerson, the GM CEO and Chairman that took over when the automaker exited its bankruptcy procedure back in 2009, has finally found out an important thing – the US carmaker had deep corporate culture problems.

Akerson, now retired because of personal problems, was put in charge at GM by the Obama Administration and became the CEO in 2010. Bewildered by the huge recall crisis the automaker is going through, he commented on the state of the company’s culture.

“I think we all — including the new and the old part of the management team — didn’t fully realize how deep some of the problems ran,” said Akerson. “I think we built a good foundation. I think the company needed a lot of change, and I said a lot of that culture wasn’t where we wanted it to be.”

He also dismissed comments as “fools can say anything,” when asked about the rumors surrounding his January departure. Speculation arose after that on the basis on bringing Mary Barra – a woman, thus a more sympathetic figure – at the top. That was because Akerson and other executives knew about the deadly ignition switch issue far earlier than they declared. Akerson vacated his CEO and Chairman position earlier than anticipated to care for his wife, Karin, who has been diagnosed with cancer. Immediately after that, in February, the news broke about the decade late recall of 2.6 million cars equipped with a faulty ignition switch.