Steven Rattner: Not The Car Czar, But A Lead Advisor
CNBC Auto and Airline Industry Reporter
The man many thought would be the U.S. "Car Czar" will now be leading the task force looking at how to fix General Motors and Chrysler.
Steven Rattner is joining the Obama team as counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
While most of the members on this task force are political staffers, Rattner and Ron Bloom, also named as one of the advisers to the Obama administration's auto team, are two with private sector experience. The hope here, and across the country, is their view from the "business world" will help this task force approach the struggling auto companies as a business problem, not a political problem.
While Rattner is just now joining the task force, he's been studying the auto industry and its problems for some time. Since President Obama was elected in November, many of the leading analysts, consultants and executives in the auto industry have been contacted by advisors working for the incoming administration.
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Many people were interviewed by Joshua Steiner, a partner at the Quadrangle Group, which is the firm Rattner founded back in 2000. Today, Rattner announced he is stepping down from the firm to join the Obama administration. He enters fully aware GM and Chrysler may have to go into bankruptcy.
As this team comes together, the big question is how quickly it will move. Remember, it's not just GM and Chrysler who are hurting. So are dozens of suppliers who are also seeking billions in aid. And if February sales are any indication, this industry is in a deep freeze that shows no sign of thawing.
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