General Motors Co has tapped recruiting firm Spencer Stuart to find a permanent chief executive with extensive global, manufacturing and turnaround experience, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The auto maker hopes to attract a candidate familiar with operating in Asia because GM expects to sell more cars in Asia than North America next year, one person told the Journal.

Another person said GM wants a CEO who could work well with U.S. government agencies and prepare the manufacturer for an initial public offering.

GM is willing to consider candidates from outside the auto industry, sources told the newspaper. A successful candidate also should have restored staff morale after a corporate turnaround.

A spokesman for GM declined to comment beyond confirming that the auto maker was seeking a new CEO. Press representatives for Spencer Stuart could not be immediately reached for comment.

GM CEO Frederick Fritz Henderson stepped down at the request of the company's board of directors last week. Chairman Ed Whitacre is serving as interim CEO.

(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; Editing by Leslie Adler)