Ed Whitacre, the former CEO of General Motors in the post-bailout era, penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal urging the U.S. Treasury to sell its shares in General Motors “as quickly as possible”.
The crux of Whitacre’s argument seems to rest on eliminating beauracracy rather than overriding political or economic concerns. Whitacre writes that
“The government’s authority over GM today isn’t concentrated in the 500,000 shares it still owns, which amount to a hefty but not controlling 26.5% ownership stake. Rather, Washington’s power comes from the management apparatus of TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, from which the $50 billion bailout originally came. TARP is funded by taxpayers, so there are many rules about how that money can and can’t be used. The result: GM spends an awful lot of time checking in with the people who administer TARP over everything from hiring to executive compensation and management. For a global company, that adds up to a lot of distraction.”
You can read the whole piece here. As one commenter so eloquently says, I’ll be sitting back with a big bag of popcorn…