Read GM CEO Dan Akerson’s letter on U.S. Treasury exit plan

December 19, 2012
Read GM CEO Dan Akerson’s letter on U.S. Treasury exit plan
GM Leaders,

Today, GM and the U.S. Treasury are putting in motion a plan that will begin to close the books on the extraordinary government assistance that saved the company and our industry.

It has never been far from my mind that taxpayers rightfully expected us to change the way we do business in exchange for a second chance. Like all of you, I have tried to honor their vote of confidence with hard work and a disciplined, long-term approach to the business.

As today’s news travels around the world, the question will be asked, “Did GM truly learn the lessons of the bankruptcy?” Our results show that we are changing the company so we never go down that path again.

Some of the lessons were financial, including how important it is to have a fortress balance sheet and a low break-even point. We have them today and we will protect them fiercely because they make it possible for us to reinvest about $8 billion in the business every year regardless of the economic cycle.

We also relearned how important strong relationships are with our suppliers, dealers, employees and the communities where we do business. As we invest around the globe, these partners are investing alongside us, fully confident that we will grow profitably together.

More than anything else, we are learning to be humble and to genuinely appreciate every customer. These traits are hallmarks of all great companies, and I’m proud of the way this team has redoubled its efforts to design vehicles that people love, deliver quality that endures and provide service that builds loyalty. Continued success on all of these fronts will help us achieve great things for our investors, and everyone else who relies on a strong and vibrant GM.

The first step in the sale of the U.S. government’s stake will be a stock buyback. We will purchase 200 million shares of GM common stock from the Treasury for $5.5 billion by the end of the year. This represents about 40 percent of the government’s stake, and we’re paying a premium of 7.9 percent for the shares. Over the next 12 to 15 months, the Treasury will execute a series of other transactions to sell down their remaining stake.

As we come to the end of this chapter in our history, I believe most people are glad that General Motors is on the move once again, thanks to the courage and foresight of Presidents Bush and Obama, and the Canadian government.

There are some who still question whether the rescue was the right thing to do. That’s to be expected — and it’s understandable. I believe we can regain their confidence over time by making GM even more successful than it is today. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re well on our way, thanks to your commitment.

The next steps for us are clear: Stay disciplined financially and operationally, sharpen our focus on the customer and continue to play offense with new products. The better we do in each of these areas, the closer we’ll come to achieving our full potential and earning a place once again among the most admired and profitable companies in the world.

Sincerely,

Dan

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