Dan Akerson
Dan Akerson
Company: General Motors

Until Facebook overshadowed GM, the automaker could claim the biggest initial public offering in history. CEO Dan Akerson guided GM through its massive IPO, after the federal government asked him to take the reins from Ed Whitacre in 2010.

Some of GM's numbers look great: in 2011, the company posted a record profit of $9.2 billion, up by almost 50% from 2010, which is even more impressive given the company filed for bankruptcy in 2009. Besides, this past May was the best sales month for GM since the 2009 Cash for Clunkers program.

Despite its solid performance, the government still owns about a quarter of the company, and in a conversation with Fortune, Akerson said he wasn't quite sure when the government would fully sell off its stake. In the coming years, GM will face the same problem as its immediate competitors: how to sell automobiles to consumers struggling amid slow global economic growth.

By Shelley DuBois, writer-reporter @FortuneMagazine - Last updated June 18 2012: 3:57 PM ET
Join the Conversation

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.