No Car Czar

by Chris Sturr | February 16, 2009

From the Washington Post

As major U.S. auto companies approach a crucial deadline for submitting a plan to save themselves, the Obama administration has elected not to name any individual car czar to oversee their restructuring, instead planning to rely on a range of senior officials.

General Motors and Chrysler, which received $17.4 billion in federal loans last year, are required to submit so-called viability plans tomorrow, which will help shape the terms of any future government aid, though they have not reached agreement on concessions from their bondholders and United Auto Workers that would be key to developing a long-term business plan.

The Bush administration had indicated an inclination to appoint a car czar, or senior government official to negotiate between the automakers and other parties involved.

The Obama administration has decided to go in a different direction, a senior administration official said last night, instead naming Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner to oversee a broad effort including many parts of the government to manage the automakers’ restructuring.

The official said that Ron Bloom is joining the Treasury Department as a senior adviser, and will play a major role representing the government.

Bloom was once a corporate restructuring expert with investment bank Lazard Freres and with labor unions. He more recently has advised the U.S. Steelworkers.

The Obama administration officials involved intend to work through the companies’ restructuring proposals in the coming weeks, demanding progress before the end of March, the official said.

Read the rest of the article here.

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