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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Akerson: U.S. loan to GM was the right decision

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Akerson: U.S. loan to GM was the right decision

By Chrissie Thompson

FREE PRESS AUTO WRITER

The federal government’s decision to give aid to General Motors was the right decision, not a political one, new CEO Dan Akerson said today.

Akerson, whose political contributions show he leans Republican, said he agreed with the decision, regardless of his political beliefs.

As for GM’s “Government Motors” nickname, sometimes referenced by former CEO Ed Whitacre, Akerson said: “Someday maybe it will stand for Global Motors.”

Akerson made the remark today during a media event that is his first on-the-record session with reporters since becoming CEO Sept. 1.

While getting the government out of its 61% equity stake in GM is a priority, GM won’t pay off the government in “one fell swoop,” Akerson said. Instead, it will take a few years.

“I don’t think any investor group has infinite patience,” he said, “and I’m sure the taxpayers would like to see the return of their money.”

Akerson, GM’s fourth CEO since March 2009, took over after Whitacre told the board he didn’t want to serve as CEO long past the company’s stock offering, tentatively timed for mid-November.

Akerson declined to comment on the initial public offering, citing federal regulations.

Whitacre will cede the chairmanship of GM’s board to Akerson at year’s end.

Akerson, most recently a managing director at private-equity firm the Carlyle Group, volunteered to join post-bankruptcy GM’s board last year. He has also served as CEO of XO Communications, which bundled telecommunications and Web-hosting services for businesses; General Instrument, which made cable television equipment; and Nextel Communications.

Read more: Akerson: U.S. loan to GM was the right decision | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20100916/BUSINESS0101/100916011/1331/BUSINESS01/Akerson-U.S.-loan-to-GM-was-the-right-decision#ixzz0zhWX1ZtJ

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