Rattner on Whitacre Departure: He Wasn't a Long-Termer

By Doron Levin August 12, 2010

Steven Rattner - 180.JPGSteve Rattner, the former Wall Street banker who headed the U.S. Treasury's reorganization of General Motors and Chrysler, said Thursday that the abrupt resignation of Ed Whitacre as GM chief executive officer ``shows him as a man who meant what he said," that he didn't want to run GM long term.

``From the beginning, Ed made it clear he was willing to help out but he wasn't willing to have another long run as CEO.'' Whitacre was a retired CEO of ATT when he was tapped by the U.S. to reconstitute GM. 

Akerson, a GM board member with experience in private equity, had been approached last year prior to the firing of Fritz Henderson as CEO and said he wasn't interested, said a source who declined to be identified.

"The country and the company are lucky to have Akerson,'' Rattner said. ``He's been on the board for a year and is intimately familiar with the company works and the challenges it faces.''

The former banker and Treasury official, who is writing a book about the government's rescue and $85 billion refinancing of the car industry, said GM's $1.3 billion second-quarter profit ``is very sustainable. GM still has a way to go to match Ford's profitability, that's the goal, to match Ford.''

Rattner said he didn't believe the abrupt management change compromised the success of GM's intended initial public offering of common stock, which is meant to ease the U.S. out of ownership of GM. 

``This is the time to to lay out for the world to see who your management team will be. It will all work out fine, markets permitting,' he said.

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seppoboy says: 7:39 AM, 08.13.10

It is clear that the Administration is pressuring GM to move forward with the IPO as soon as possible. It is debatable whether that is a prudent thing to do for GM's future, or for the taxpayers, but that is the path we are on. This change in CEO happened at this time solely to facilitate the early IPO. We will be able to judge the outcome of the Obama Administration's stewardship through the post-Chapter 11 era in a couple of years.


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