may pay back its $8.2 billion in government loans all at once, instead of in quarterly installments, CEO Ed Whitacre said Tuesday.
Asked about a one-time payment, Whitacre called the suggestion "a good idea" and said: "We've thought of it too. We'll be looking at the possibility." During a webcast, Whitacre took about two dozen text questions from reporters, responding in kind.
The automaker owes $6.7 billion to the U.S. Treasury and $1.5 billion to Export Development Canada. It has already said it will make payments this month of $1 billion and $192 million respectively.
Responding to other questions, Whitacre said GM has a "real good candidate" to be its next CFO, and could make an announcement in two-to-three weeks. He said he communicates with the government's auto task force about once a week, noting "They promised to keep hands off and let the board run the company -- they've been true to their word and done exactly that."
Told that many reporters would have preferred an opportunity to question him directly, Whitacre responded: "I've been on the job for four days. I'll do it as soon as I feel comfortable and have enough clear air and time. I promise we'll talk soon."
Asked how long newly appointed executives have to show results, given that former CEO Fritz Henderson was dismissed after eight months, Whitacre responded: "Not long."
-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.