What Whitacre does explain is how his advice to the administration that it should accept a deal in which GM would get the government completely out of its hair by repaying all the bailout money was shot down — with little rational explanation.
In the book, he blames GM’s investment bankers, who said they were skittish because of market conditions at the time — afraid that an IPO might not raise enough to repay the government’s entire $43 billion investment.
But those bankers weren’t picked by the company, but in large part by the Obama Treasury Department. And it’s clear they didn’t view Whitacre as their client — these were some of the same fat-cat bankers who themselves got a federal bailout during the 2008 financial crisis, who’d say anything to appease their ultimate bosses in Washington.
And, as Whitacre notes, the partial IPO that the bankers allowed went well. On that day, GM didn’t just get a few additional orders for its $20.1 billion offering (then the largest IPO ever) but orders worth $86 billion — enough, he notes, that GM “could have easily repaid the government the entire $43 billion it owed, and given taxpayers a nice profit for their time and trouble on top of that.”