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Published: Friday, 9/17/2010

Long wait predicted for payback of GM bailout


DETROIT - It will take a couple of years for taxpayers to get back the billions they spent bailing out General Motors Co., but the company has a goal of returning the money, GM's new CEO said Thursday.

CEO Daniel Akerson told reporters the government won't be repaid with the firm's initial public stock offering, which could happen later this year, but couldn't be more specific about the sale.

Mr. Akerson, GM's fourth CEO in less than two years, indicated management is stable, and doesn't expect to make changes. "I like the team that's on the field," he said.

Mr. Akerson, a former telecommunications industry executive and a GM board member since July, 2009, said the $50 billion government bailout of GM saved a lot of jobs and helped save the U.S. manufacturing base.

GM has repaid $6.7 billion of the government's money to save the company and get it through bankruptcy protection, and the remaining $43 billion was converted to a 61 percent ownership stake. GM has filed paperwork starting the process to sell stock to the public, and a sale could be as early as mid-November.

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