DETROIT: General Motors has seemingly anointed a successor to incumbent ceo Rick Wagoner with the elevation of cfo Frederick 'Fritz' Henderson  (pictured) to president and chief operating officer.

Wagoner says the appointment will free him to lobby on environmental regulations and spend time in emerging markets overseas, while Henderson (49) shoulders most day-to-day responsibilities. 
The latter has experience of running many of GM's units and has been praised by union leaders following the deal he struck last year which offloaded billions of dollars in retiree health-care obligations from the company's books.

Says Wagoner: "Fritz is the right person to assume this role. He's had a broad range of experience in leading three of our four regions ... and he's made a tremendous contribution in each role."

Henderson is also one of the chief architects of GM's ongoing turnaround plan. The struggling automaker lost a record $38.7 billion (€26.5bn; £19.7bn) in 2007 but is optimistic about improvements in cash flow and earnings in 2010 and 2011.  

It expects revenue growth to come from international markets, but is confident that its North America resurgence will continue despite the looming recession.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff