General Motors CEO Dan Akerson, who will retire in January 2014, will go off into the sunset having closed the door on the “Government Motors” era. After more than four years of ownership, the U.S. Treasury sold off its remaining shares of GM stock at a hefty loss of $10.5 billion.
Of the $39 billion earned back on the original $49.5 billion investment, most was collected piecemeal in the form of periodic stock sales. The U.S. Treasury sold off $3 billion in shares since late October, completing the final sale well ahead of the March 2014 deadline it set for itself this time last year.
“The U.S. Treasury’s ownership exit closes just one chapter in GM’s ongoing turnaround story. We will always be grateful for the second chance extended to us and we are doing our best to make the most of it. Today is not dramatically different from the hundreds of preceding days during which we have worked to make GM a company our country can be proud of again,” said Akerson in a statement.
GM hopes that the news will be a turning point for its public perception, which has been weighed down by the stigma of its $49.5 billion government bailout in 2009.
“I think probably some people will begin to consider us right away, maybe the next day,” GM North America president Mark Reuss told Automotive News.
As it is, GM has already demonstrated steady gains and substantial profits since the 2009 bailout. In a turnaround that many analysts attribute the better product marketing and quality, GM has raked in almost $20 billion in net income over 15 straight quarters of profitability.
“Continued investments, innovation, and job creation are just some of the “returns” of a healthy GM and domestic auto industry,” said Akerson. “Our work continues uninterrupted, and we will keep our sights squarely on our customers and transforming the way we do business.”