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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

GM's Whitacre: 'More work ahead'

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GM's Whitacre: 'More work ahead'

Robert Snell / The Detroit News

Despite posting its first profit in almost three years, General Motors Co. has more work to do rebuilding confidence among consumers and growing the business, Chairman and Chief Executive Ed Whitacre told employees.

In an e-mail to employees obtained by The Detroit News, Whitacre said the $865 million first-quarter profit reported Monday is a sign of progress and he hopes there will be additional profitable quarters in coming months and years.

The comments are the first to emerge from Whitacre since GM released first-quarter financial results that also showed the automaker generated $1 billion in free cash flow.

"We still have more work ahead to rebuild consumer confidence and grow the business in an uncertain global economy," Whitacre wrote in the e-mail Monday.

The e-mail also struck a reassuring tone for employees and executives who have survived waves of job cuts, leadership changes and GM's bankruptcy in the last year.

"It's good to know that we are moving forward," Whitacre wrote. "I want to thank you for your hard work and dedication to General Motors. I appreciate your contributions..."

The message was sent at a time of increased optimism at GM, which is preparing for an initial public offering of company stock.

The government cannot start cashing in its $43 billion investment in GM until the automaker launches an IPO.

GM wants a string of profitability before a stock offering, which could happen later this year or next, and in the meantime, is trying to temper expectations.

"There is a lot of excitement building, I think that's great, and interest and enthusiasm," Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell told analysts and reporters Monday. "I'm in the unusual position of keeping expectations low."

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100519/AUTO01/5190432/1148/auto01/GM-s-Whitacre---More-work-ahead-#ixzz0oPJKzhDB

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