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GM is starting to sound like Peyton Place

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GM is starting to sound like Peyton Place

Automotive News -- September 13, 2010 - 12:01 am ET

We now have the fourth General Motors CEO in a year and a half.

We are told that the newest CEO and chairman-elect, Dan Akerson, was picked, at his request, by the White House to go on the GM board. Less than a year later, he's the CEO and is scheduled to become chairman as well at the end of the year.

And now the first kiss-and-tell book about the auto bailout is about to be published by Steven Rattner, a Wall Street money man who was involved in the auto bailout long enough to have some interesting comments. He resigned when the state of New York began investigating questionable activity by his firm before he joined the government.

His book, which I have not yet read, sounds like it's right up there with Kitty Kelley's books. It'll be fascinating. And we can bet that it will be a best-seller in Detroit and perhaps on Wall Street. I'm guessing Rattner isn't interested in another post within the Obama administration.

This doubtless will be just the first of several intriguing books about the bankruptcies at GM and Chrysler. Each book will have a point of view that extols the author but gives insight into the evolution of this dramatic period.

Thank goodness GM is still creating cars and trucks in the Detroit suburb of Warren, Mich., and Mark Reuss and Tom Stephens are still actually running the car business. It has to be distracting for the folks in the car business to watch the company's top leadership keep churning. They can only keep their heads down and tend to their knitting.

It makes sense for the corporation to be headquartered in downtown Detroit, 18 miles from the GM Tech Center, where the car business is operating. It keeps the financial folks and the operating folks separate. Not so many decades ago, the chairman and financial staff were housed in New York.

Meanwhile, GM -- which somehow survived bankruptcy, the cancellation of 1,350 dealerships and the congressionally mandated arbitration for many of those canceled dealers -- is about to launch an initial public offering so the company can extricate itself from the clutches of the federal government and the White House.

After two quarters of profits, Akerson and GM will, soon after the November elections, try to convince American and global investors that the new GM is worthy of their money, a daunting task at best.

It's a fascinating story that is real life. We still have many chapters to go.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100913/OEM02/309139882/-1#ixzz0zQ3Zv83H

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