GM Financial Shakeup, a Conflicted Hire, and Delayed Reporting Either Not or Barely News at AP

GovernmentMotors0609Yesterday, Government/General Motors announced changes in its financial management team.

Chris Liddell, who himself just started at GM in January, brought on a new VP to be involved with its pension investments. More interestingly, he hired a new VP and Treasurer with an interesting background (bold is mine):

During his 11 years at Morgan Stanley (head of Industrials Investment Banking), (Daniel) Ammann was instrumental in many high profile assignments spanning a variety of technology, service, and manufacturing clients. His diverse experience in mergers, acquisitions, raising capital, and restructuring includes leading Morgan Stanley’s banking team in advising GM on its restructuring and sale pursuant to Section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

How convenient. Morgan Stanley helped GM file for bankruptcy, during which the Obama administration engaged in heavy-handed disparate treatment of non-TARP secured creditors during the bankruptcy process.

Oh, and did I forget to note that GM won't submit its audited financial statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission until about two weeks after the deadline for normal companies (note the "not to worry" tone at the link)?

A search on the company's name at the Associated Press's main site as of about 2 PM ET indicates that the wire service has ignored the management shake-up. It did do a story yesterday on the financial statement delay containing all of five paragraphs (presented in full for fair use and discussion purposes):

APonGMlateFinancials032910

Note that the report never mentions that the company is government-controlled, or that the government has pumped at least $50 billion into it.

The unbylined report also lets GM slide by on its excuse about fair value determination. With all due respect, guys, the company has had almost nine months since it emerged from bankruptcy to get it right -- and though it isn't easy, the task isn't tough enough to justify that delay, especially since fair value is normally based on the date the company emerged and is typically not subject to subsequent adjustment.

Absent a smoking-gun e-mail, no one will ever be able to prove this, but the delay from here looks to be motivated by something other than the need for precision. Perhaps the company is trying to delay the inevitable bad news (if it is indeed bad) as long as possible. Or it could be that the government's car czars have decided that releasing the financials on about April 15 might cause them to get less press and public attention because of other big news stories. It looks like the AP is set to cooperate.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.