It will take a couple of years for taxpayers to get back the billions they spent bailing out General Motors, but the company has a goal of returning the money, GM's new CEO said Thursday.
CEO Daniel Akerson told reporters that that the government won't be repaid with the company's initial public stock offering, which could happen later this year, but couldn't answer more specific questions about the sale.
"I don't think that's going to be done in one fell swoop," he said. "I think that's unrealistic."
Akerson, who has been in charge of GM since taking over for Ed Whitacre on Sept. 1, is the company's fourth CEO in less than two years. But he indicated that management will be stable in the future, saying he doesn't expect to make any changes.
"I like the team that's on the field," he said.
Akerson said the $50 billion government bailout of GM saved a lot of jobs and helped to preserve the country's manufacturing base.
GM has repaid $6.7 billion of the money the government put up to save the company and get it through bankruptcy protection last year, and the remaining $43 billion was converted to a 61 percent ownership stake. GM has filed paperwork starting the process to sell stock to the public, and a sale could come as early as mid-November.
The company would not sell any common shares, but instead plans to sell preferred stock, which pays a dividend and will be converted to common shares in 2013.
Akerson also said he's hopeful that GM will be able to create more jobs in the future, but he gave no specifics.
"I think it's clear that we have good demand, strong demand in certain models," he said. "It's my sincere hope that that demand will drive production, and obviously associated with production will be jobs."
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