The federal government's controversial decision to step in and save General Motors from insolvency was the right thing to do, the automaker's new Chief Executive Daniel Akerson (pictured) said Thursday in Detroit.

The Republican-leaning Akerson said he agreed with the decision to loan General Motors $50 billion to help restructure and modernize the iconic car company, despite his political beliefs, the Detroit Free Press newspaper reported.

Speaking to reporters during his first on-the-record session with the media since becoming CEO on Sept. 1, Akerson said GM's pending initial public offering of stock won't result in the government selling off its 61% equity stake in "one fell swoop." Rather, it will take a few years.

No Comment on the IPO


The automaker filed papers last month with the Securities and Exchange Commission to once again become a publicly traded company. GM will begin a "road show" -- soliciting investors to buy stock -- after the nation's mid-term elections Nov. 2, with the goal of holding the stock offering before December.

Akerson declined to answer additional questions about the IPO, citing federal regulations that require company management to keep quiet prior to the offering of stock, which some analysts expect will begin trading Nov. 18.

Akerson, 61, took over as CEO from Edward Whitacre, the former AT&T (T) chief executive tapped by President Obama to lead GM out of its government-backed bankruptcy reorganization. Whitacre remains GM's chairman, a post he will relinquish to Akerson at year's end.

New CEO Plans to Stick Around

During Whitacre's short 10-month tenure as CEO, GM underwent a management shakeup. But Akerson said Thursday he plans to leave existing management intact, The Wall Street Journal reported. Also unlike Whitacre, who said he had no plans to remain long term at GM when he accepted the position, Akerson said he "is not here for the short term."

He also said GM's struggling European unit, Opel, will take some time to repair. But the Germany-based company doesn't need a partner.

Further, Akerson said GM management is preparing for negotiations next year with the United Auto Workers union, a relationship, he said isn't viewed as adversarial. The UAW holds a 17.5% stake in GM through its health care trust. GM, Akerson said, will weigh sacrifices made by workers over the last few years now that GM is making money.

GM has reported two successive quarters of profits following a $4.3 billion loss recorded in the last six months of last year, after emerging from bankruptcy.

Last week, GM disclosed Akerson would be paid $9 million as CEO, including an annual salary of $1.7 million. The former Carlyle Group managing director will also receive a portion of his salary in the form of stock, totaling $5.3 million, which will be paid out over three years beginning September 2011. Akerson will also get $2 million in restricted stock through GM's long-term incentive plan, according to a filing with the SEC.

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BRAD & WILLERS

YEAH, WE BAIL GM OUT, AND NOW CHINA WANTS TO BUY STOCK IN GM. NICE GOING OBUMMER!! WHY DON'T YOU MAKE YOUR AUNT SECRETARY OF STATE YOU CREEP!

September 21 2010 at 11:09 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Bob

Care to explain why the entire GM issue was not addressed by the rule of law of a bankruptcy court as opposed to the heavy handed tactics of the Obama administration ? . . . preferably in simple terms that the auto dealers put out of business, the bondholders of record, the disadvantaged Delphi white collar workers, and the American taxpayers would understand.

September 16 2010 at 8:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
philschellenger

what else would the A-hole say,that it was bad ,sooner or later gm will go.

September 16 2010 at 6:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to philschellenger's comment
richard

Why are you so anti-American? Help America be a better place, move to Asia.

September 17 2010 at 12:47 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Gg

Like the new officer would say anything else. And in terms of paying off the bailout which would take more like decades even at 0% interest. But of course the money was a gift and not a loan. Just setting up the people for the next bailout coming our way sooner that we thought.

September 16 2010 at 5:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
kv37

GM will never be ok. They are following in Chrysler's footsteps.

September 16 2010 at 4:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
BUFFALO

I bought a new car back in june and when I was at the dealer they had a big banner that proclaimed that GM had paid back there loan?? I guess GM is under no oblagation to buy back the stock the government owns. I wonder if the government would even sell there stock in GM back to GM as then they would have no control over the automaker and government does not like to give up power over business!

September 16 2010 at 4:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
BUFFALO

I bought a new car back in june and when I was at the dealer they had a big banner that proclaimed that GM had paid back there loan?? I guess GM is under no oblagation to buy back the stock the government owns. I wonder if the government would even sell there stock in GM back to GM as then they would have no control over the automaker and government does not like to give up power over business!

September 16 2010 at 4:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jkennedy806

I am not surprised as an ex AT&T employee that a CEO from AT&T helped GM tank. And I agree, of course he says it was the right thing to do, with his salary I too would agree it would be the right thing to do also. How many small business owners can't even afford to pay themselves a real high salary in the milions. Small Business owners, are lucky if they get a couple of hundred to take home.

September 16 2010 at 1:28 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
rdfjester

GM - agreeing with bailout - wow who could have seen that coming - so why couldn't GM retool itself - nice.

September 16 2010 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
marine1942

Airn't you surprised he would say this ????

September 16 2010 at 11:50 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply