Soon-to-retire General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson has said thanks, but no thanks, to suggestions the now-profitable automaker should pay back the roughly $10 billion the U.S. Treasury is believed to have lost on its 2009 bailout of the then-bankrupt automaker.
Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Akerson told his audience that the government took a risk like any other investor – including those wiped out when GM filed for Chapter 11 protection. And, the CEO stressed, the bailout was far less expensive than the tens of billions of dollars in lost taxes and other revenues that would have been lost if GM had gone out of business.
“I would not accept the premise that this was a bad deal,” said Akerson, who plans to retire on January 15, when his protégé Mary Barra becomes the first woman CEO at a major auto manufacturer. “The die was cast” when the government decided to take shares rather than make its investment in the form of a loan, Akerson emphasized.