President Obama has dropped the idea of appointing a single, powerful “car czar” to oversee the revamping of General Motors and Chrysler and will instead keep the politically delicate task in the hands of his most senior economic advisers, a top administration official said Sunday night.who insisted on anonymity.
The official also said that Ron Bloom, a restructuring expert who has advised the labor unions in the troubled steel and airline industries, would be named a senior adviser to Treasury on the auto crisis.
The unexpected shift comes as G.M. and Chrysler race to complete broad restructuring plans they must file with the Treasury by Tuesday. The companies’ plans are required to show progress in cutting long-term costs as a condition for keeping their loans.
The administration official said the president was reserving for himself any decision on the viability of G.M. and Chrysler, both of which came close to bankruptcy before receiving federal aid two months ago.
One of President Obama’s top advisers said Sunday that the administration had not ruled out a government-backed bankruptcy as a means to overhaul the automakers.
“We’re going to need a restructuring of these companies,” the adviser, David Axelrod, said on “Meet the Press” on NBC. He added that a turnaround of the companies would “require sacrifice not just from the auto workers but also from creditors, from shareholders and the executives who run the company.”