NEW YORK (
) -- Dan Akerson was a make-it-happen telecom executive at
who later made his mark in private equity as a clean-up specialist who fitted
into a takeover by
board member Akerson was named Thursday as the next CEO of the soon-to-go-public automaker when Ed Whitacre departs in September.
GM's new future CEO Dan Akerson
Fond of Teddy "Speak softly and carry a big stick" Roosevelt, Akerson keeps on his office wall a quote from Roosevelt's 1910 speech known as
"The Man in the Arena
." It's a 142-word hardcharger's call-to-battle that extolls the individual who valiantly dares to be great.
That's probably just the sort of go-getter spirit that GM's board and Whitacre were looking for to help retool and sharpen GM.
"I love him, but he's a very hard-nosed results-oriented guy," said Bay Bridge Capital's Blake Bath who worked for Akerson when he was CFO at long-distance phone upstart MCI.
Akerson was instrumental in raising finances to get MCI into the ring with Ma Bell as the
monopoly was being dismantled. Private equity shop Forstmann recruited Akerson in 1993 to take the top job at cable set-top box maker General Instruments, which was later acquired by Motorola.
In 1996, Akerson took the CEO job at Nextel and later became chairman. Nextel phones became a popular device among work teams who favored the walkie-talkie service. Nextel was acquired by Sprint in 2004.
Before GM, Akerson was head of global buyouts at the Carlyle Group. In July 2009, he joined the GM board.
--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.