NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- General Motors may be able to repay its government loans by next summer or even earlier, says its Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre Jr.

The government loans add up to $6.7 billion, and GM plans on paying them in quarterly installments, starting this December with a $1.2 billion payment.

The government supplied GM with $52 billion in aid as it went through bankruptcy protection earlier this year. Most of that money was converted to equity, and as a result, the government now has a majority stake of 61% in the automaker.

For the government to recover all of its investments in GM, there would have to be a company IPO. Whitacre doesn't have a timetable for that yet.

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Ed Whitacre took the reigns as GM's CEO at the start of December after Fritz Henderson was ousted by the board over differences on where the company should have been heading. Whitacre says that the government pay restrictions on top-tier executives at companies that have received large government bailouts has been a barrier to installing a new CEO for the company.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York

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