Former GM CEO Ed Whitacre urging US government to sell its stake in the automaker

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 21, 2012

Former GM CEO Ed Whitacre is urging the U.S. government to sell all of its stake in the automaker as soon as possible. According to an opinion piece released in The Wall Street Journal, Whitacre described the Treasury Department's holding a "distraction" for the company, which emerged from U.S.-funded bankruptcy protection over three years ago.

Presently, the Treasury owns around 26.5% of GM's shares. He wrote that the U.S. government would have to sell the shares left or else, it won’t ever be able to remove its "Government Motors" label. He explained that this moniker can be translated to mean that the automaker is a “failure.” He asserted that GM has turned itself around since then.

The Troubled Asset Relief Program had funded the bailout for GM amounting to $50 billion so it actually defines the rules on how to spend the money. Whitacre said that because of this, GM wastes a lot of time talking with Washington officials about compensation, management, and hiring. He believes that this prevents GM from acting as the “master of its own destiny."

Until GM's initial public offering in November 2010, Treasury owned about 61% of GM's common shares, or 912 million shares. Before the IPO, Whitacre had hoped that the U.S. government will sell all of its investment.

He said that if the stock fell short, the automaker will make up for the difference using cash. He said that if that had happened, it would have saved GM’s image and made Wall Street believe that GM was back. But then, they didn’t want to try offering anything that big because no one had ever attempted it previously.

Topics: gm, ceo

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