GM nabs big hire from airline industry as its next CFO

By Jamie L. LaReau, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

Bastian credited Jacobson in "developing and leading the strategy that regained our investment-grade balance sheet as we rose from the difficult years after Sept. 11, 2001," the day terrorists flew commercial airplanes into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Dashed dream of being a pilot

Jacobson said he opted to join GM in part because of the automaker's vision for an all-electric future.

"GM's vision is compelling because it embraces the needs of society, customers and investors, and they are executing an historic technology shift to electrification from a position of strength," he said in a statement.

Jacobson is from Minnesota, and dreamed of being a pilot, he told Delta News Hub. He enrolled in Air Force ROTC and had earned his pilot's license when he had to disclose his medical history.


"I'd had asthma as a child, but I grew out of it at age 14," Jacobson said. "Unfortunately, the cutoff for the ROTC program was 12, after that supposedly it could reoccur. I had self-disclosed ... obviously it was the right thing to do. But I couldn't be a pilot."

He said he was devastated but decided to pursue a career in aviation management. He graduated from Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in aviation management. He later received a Master of Business Administration degree from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University.

He serves on the board of trustees for the Auburn University Foundation, the Harbert College of Business Advisory Council at Auburn and the Owen Graduate School of Management Board of Visitors at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.

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