US Treasury names buyout chiefs to GM board

TPG's David Bonderman and Carlyle's Daniel Akerson are among the recent nominations to GM's board. Also appointed was Stephen Girsky, former Centerbridge Industrial Partners president.

The US Treasury has turned to the private equity industry to help populate the reorganised General Motors’ board of directors.

TPG co-founder David Bonderman, and Daniel Akerson, a senior executive with The Carlyle Group, have been named to the board by the US Treasury. Stephen Girsky, most recently president of Centerbridge Industrial Partners, an affiliate of Centerbridge Partners, was appointed to the board by the United Auto Workers Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. 

Carlyle and TPG declined to comment. A source with knowledge of the situation said Bonderman’s role at TPG will not change with the new appointment.

Bonderman co-founded TPG in 1992, while Akerson has been a managing director and co-head of the US buyout fund of The Carlyle Group since 2003, according to GM. He was previously CEO of XO Communications from 1999 to 2003, and  chairman of Nextel from 1996 to 2001. He was also Nextel’s CEO from 1996 to 1999. Girsky is president of SJ Girsky, an advisory firm.

GM has restructured its board as part of a general management reorganisation that is part of the company’s rebirth as the “new GM” after emerging from bankruptcy earlier this month. The board seats correspond to the controlling stakes each party has in the company.

GM’s 13-member board is made up of 10 people nominated by the United States Treasury, while one member is named by the governments of Canada and Ontario and one representative is nominated by the United Auto Workers Retiree Medical Benefits Trust and Fritz Henderson, GM’s president and chief executive officer. The US government has a controlling 61 percent stake in the company, while the UAW has a 17.5 percent stake through its health care trust and the Canadian government has an 11.7 percent chunk of GM. Any remaining shares are controlled by bondholders of the pre-bankruptcy General Motors.

Some board members of the “old GM” were renamed by the Treasury to the reorganised company’s board such as Kent Kresa, the former chairman of Northrop Grumman who was also hired by Carlyle in 2003 as a senior advisor the firm’s aerospace and defense group. It is unclear if Kresa still works with Carlyle.

New directors will be paid a $200,000 yearly cash retainer, along with $10,000 for service as chair of any board committee, $20,000 for service on the board’s audit committee and $150,000 for service as chairman of the board.

GM’s board has six existing members, including Henderson and Kresa; Erroll Davis, chancellor of the University Systems of Georgia; Neville Isdell, retired chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company; Philip Laskawy, retired chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young, and Kathryn Marinello, chairman and CEO of Ceridian.

GM entered bankruptcy in early June and quickly emerged earlier this month smaller and less burdened with debt and legacy issues. Both GM and Cerberus Capital Management-backed Chrysler were bailed out by the government and went through quick bankruptcy reorganisations.

Both companies worked for months on restructuring with the US government’s auto task force, formerly led by Steve Rattner, the co-founder of The Quadrangle Group. Rattner stepped down from his role as the government’s auto chief earlier this month and will not return to Quadrangle, a source told PEO.