Moving quickly to restructure its board,

General Motors

(GMGMQ)

has named

Edward Whitacre

as its new chairman and says a half dozen current members will likely depart shortly.

Whitacre, former chairman and CEO of

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

, will take over when new GM is launched later this year, following a makeover in bankruptcy court.

Edward Whitacre

GM said Whitacre and interim chairman Kent Kresa, along with current board members Philip Laskawy, Kathryn Marinello, Erroll Davis, E. Neville Isdell and CEO Fritz Henderson, will serve as the nucleus of its new board.

The six other members of the current board will most likely retire no later than the approval of the sale of GM assets to the new entity, the automaker said. A selection process is under way for four more directors. In addition, the Canadian government and the new United Auto Workers Voluntary Employee Benefit Association will each nominate one director, bringing the total number of New GM directors to 13.

Whitacre, 67, was chairman and CEO of AT&T and its predecessor companies from 1990 to 2007. During his tenure, which began with Southwestern Bell, he led the company through a series of mergers and acquisitions that included the 2005 acquisition of AT&T.

He serves on the boards of

ExxonMobil

(XOM) - Get Report

and

Burlington Northern

(BNI)

and holds a degree in industrial engineering from Texas Technological University.