General Motors Co's management team was surprised and saddened by the sudden departure of Chief Executive Fritz Henderson this week, GM's Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said on Wednesday.

I think it's fair to say that we were totally surprised, Lutz told reporters at the Los Angeles auto show. None of us had any hint that this was coming.

GM's Chairman Ed Whitacre announced in a short statement on Tuesday that Henderson, a longtime executive at GM and CEO since March, had resigned after all involved agreed that changes needed to be made.

Whitacre, a former head of AT&T brought in as chairman in July, is acting CEO while the company searches for a replacement.

Henderson had ascended to the top spot at GM after CEO Rick Wagoner was forced out by the Obama administration during the automaker's U.S. government funded restructuring.

Lutz said the management team had a great deal of faith in and admiration for Henderson, but the executives would just buckle down and get the job done.

Lutz said he would not discuss other potential changes at GM. He also said he did not believe a change in CEO would be a setback for GM.

You never like a distraction but, you know, the interesting thing is the public buys cars. They don't buy management teams, Lutz said.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman and Kevin Krolicki; Editing by Toni Reinhold)