In a sharp move three days after replacing Chief Executive Fritz Henderson, General Motors Co
I want to give people more responsibility and authority deeper in the organization and then hold them accountable, Whitacre said in a statement.
Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, who put off retirement to head marketing for the new GM after its emergence from bankruptcy in July, has been reassigned as vice chairman and adviser on design and global product development.
GM named Mark Reuss president of GM North America and named Nick Reilly, currently head of its international operations, to lead GM Europe. Reilly will be succeeded by Tim Lee, who will oversee Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Africa and Middle East.
Whitacre and other executives addressed workers at the Warren Technical Center near Detroit, and his comments were broadcast to GM employees around the world.
Whitacre, who became GM chairman when it emerged from bankruptcy, was named interim CEO of the automaker on Tuesday after Henderson resigned in a split with the board.
Henderson was asked to step down after eight months with the board looking for a quicker restructuring, the second abrupt departure of a GM CEO in 2009. His predecessor, Rick Wagoner, was forced out in March by the Obama administration.
GM has struggled to complete restructuring plans in the nearly five months since it emerged from a swift bankruptcy nearly 61 percent owned by the U.S. Treasury.
Deals to sell its Saab and Saturn brands fell through in the latter stages and GM's board opted to retain the European Opel unit and restructure it, reversing a management decision earlier in 2009 to sell a majority stake in Opel.
(Reporting by David Bailey, Soyoung Kim and Bernie Woodall, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)