GENERAL MOTORS, the ailing car giant that recently emerged from the biggest bankruptcy in US history, last night ousted its chief executive Fritz Henderson after just eight months in the top role.<br /><br />Henderson, a GM veteran who has been with the car firm since 1984, was appointed as chief executive at the end of March when Rick Wagoner was fired at the request of President Barack Obama following the government-funded restructuring of GM.<br /><br />Chairman Ed Whitacre was last night appointed interim chief executive as the carmaker begins the search for Henderson&rsquo;s replacement. Earlier, a 13-member emergency board meeting concluded he could no longer continue in the role.<br /><br />Whitacre said: &ldquo;While momentum has been building over the past several months, all involved agree that changes needed to be made.&rdquo;<br /><br />Government appointed Whitacre has openly clashed with Henderson over his optimistic recovery forecasts.<br /><br />Henderson&rsquo;s position was also undermined when the board overruled at the eleventh hour plans to sell its European business Opel and Vauxhall to Canadian car parts firm Magna.<br /><br />Meanwhile, GM effectively sounded the death knell for Saab yesterday, saying it would wind down the Swedish brand unless a white knight bidder emerged before the end of the year.<br /><br />The carmaker, which says it has had interest from unnamed bidders, broke the news despite an appeal by Sweden to save Saab and its 8,000 workers.