Dan Akerson, named General Motors‘ new chairman and CEO today, has, like his predecessor Ed Whitacre, a strong background in telecommunications and related industries and solid experience restructuring large companies.

Prior to joining the GM board in July last year, Akerson was a Washington, DC-based managing director of private investment firm The Carlyle Group and the head of global buyout.

He previously was chairman, chief executive officer, or president of several major companies, including General Instrument, MCI, Nextel, and XO Communications.

Prior to joining Carlyle,  Akerson held several posts at MCI Communications Corporation from 1983-1993 including executive vice president and chief financial officer from 1987-1990 and president and chief operating officer from 1992-1993.

In 1993, Ackerson become a general partner of private equity firm Forstmann Little & Company, during which time he served as chairman and chief executive officer of General Instrument from 1993-1995.  While there, he headed a successful effort to develop and deploy the first digital video, satellite, and cable systems domestically and internationally.

Akerson was chairman from 1996-2001 and also CEO of Nextel Communications from 1996-1999, where he transformed the company from a regional analogue walkie/talkie provider into the national digital wireless operation it is today. From late 1999 until January 2003, Akerson was chairman and chief executive officer of XO Communications which he restructured successfully.

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Akerson is also on the boards of American Express, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Freescale Semiconductor.

He has a bachelor of science in engineering from the US Naval Academy and a master of science in economics from the London School of Economics.