This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," June 1, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: In short, our goal is to get GM back on its feet, take a hands-off approach, and get out quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, good luck, Mr. President, because, to hear the CEO of GM himself tell it, taxpayers are knee-deep in this for a while, maybe — maybe — a long while.
Welcome, everybody. I am Neil Cavuto.
Gee. No, GM, the carmaker goes under. Investors just go on a buying rampage.
• Video: Watch Cavuto's interview
And a somewhat bemused GM CEO, Fritz Henderson, goes on to ponder life at bankruptcy now with me:
CAVUTO: Do you think the — the market's just relieved that this has happened, that, you know, this has been kind of like "Waiting for Godot," and now here it is?
FRITZ HENDERSON, CEO, GENERAL MOTORS (GM): Well, I'm not sure the degree to which our action is — is — can really be traced as a causal factor for the market. I think there's a lot of other reasons that are driving the market. But I think, in terms of providing definition around General Motors, today is, in many ways, a watershed day.
CAVUTO: Or it could be the market saying, you're not a factor anymore. You're going to be taken out of the Dow 30, first time in a century.
How do you feel about that?
HENDERSON: Neil, this has been a — a deeply painful process for the men and women of General Motors, myself included.
Being — you know, being taken out of the Dow is a factor, given the fact that our — the value of our shares are going to be wiped out. That's what we would have expected to happen, but, nonetheless, it's just a reminder of the — that sacrifices that are being made and the importance of us actually transforming the company in the future.
CAVUTO: Let me ask you, Mr. Henderson, the president, earlier on today, in his remarks on this historical development said, "Our goal is to help GM get back on its feet and get out quickly."
You went on to say in your press conference a few moments ago, it will be years, not months, before the government can unwind its position in GM.
HENDERSON: So, I would say, certainly, I think what the president was talking about is two things: one, getting out of a bankruptcy process quickly by virtue of executing the 363. That's a question in our case of 60 to 90 days. And I think we're perfectly in line.
And, with respect to the process by which the Treasury or the other investors dispose of the shares over time, I mean, just given the size, given the nature of the capital markets, you would expect that to be a multiyear process. But, nonetheless, that's a question more appropriately posed, actually, to — to the Treasury.
CAVUTO: But it is possible that the government could be here for years, right?
HENDERSON: Oh, it is possible. But, again, I — that's not my — my call.
HENDERSON: Our — our job as a — as a leadership team is to actually deliver the numbers, and then they decide how they can best maximize the return to the U.S. taxpayer.
Sir, we have already gotten indications, and I guess you have accepted an invite from Senator John Rockefeller of West Virginia to testify on Capitol Hill, I think, the day after tomorrow on closing dealerships and how you intend to go through that.
Do you need government OK on what dealerships you close?
HENDERSON: No, we do not. That is a management decision completely.
So, as was also brought up in the press conference, if you are closing a lot of dealerships in a — in a heavy union area or a heavy union state, you are free to do that, without even checking it with the government?
CAVUTO: And they have told you that?
CAVUTO: So, have they also told you that these important matters that they would limit themselves to, what those important matters would be?
HENDERSON: They — I think what the government is interested in is what any large shareholder — in this case, the U.S. taxpayer will be a 60 percent shareholder in General Motors. So, what do they want to know?
They want to know that there is a world-class board of directors. General Motors has had an exceptionally hardworking board of directors, in fact, a world-class board, in many ways, up to this point. But they have asked for a reconstitution of the majority of the board.
Kent Kresa, our interim chairman, is providing that leadership in terms of repopulating the board. They're going to want to make sure there's a world-class board in place overseeing the company, which represents their investment. And that board would be expected to hold management accountable for results.
CAVUTO: Mr. Henderson, you had also said earlier: We are reflating again.
I guess anyone who knows you knows you're pretty astute in what's going on in all the global markets, which I guess is why you have this job. But one of the things you had been noticing, and — and, of course, couldn't not notice, is the sudden run-up in energy prices.