Former AT&T CEO to become new GM chairman

General Motors Corp. said Tuesday the former chairman and chief executive of AT&T Inc. will become chairman of the reorganized automaker later this summer.

Edward Whitacre Jr., 67, will replace Kent Kresa, but Kresa will remain GM’s interim chairman until the automaker emerges from bankruptcy protection as a new entity majority-owned by the U.S. government.

Whitacre was chairman and CEO of telecommunications giant AT&T and its predecessor companies from 1990 to 2007. During his tenure, he led the company through several acquisitions and sales.

Whitacre sits on the boards of Exxon Mobil Corp. and the railroad company Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.

GM says Whitacre will join the nucleus of a new GM board that will include Kresa and current members Philip A. Laskawy, Kathryn V. Marinello, Erroll B. Davis, Jr., E. Neville Isdell and CEO Fritz Henderson.

Kresa, a GM board member since 2003, was named interim chairman of the board earlier this year after Rick Wagoner was ousted as chairman and CEO in a shake up engineered by the Obama administration.

GM has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since last week as it seeks to reorganize and shed unwanted assets.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.