DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors Co. is getting close to hiring a new chief financial officer, its CEO said Tuesday.
The automaker has a good candidate and should have news in two or three weeks, Board Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre Jr. said in a Web chat with reporters.
It was the first time that a GM official has acknowledged plans to replace CFO Ray Young, the second top executive to be ousted by Whitacre and the new board. CEO Fritz Henderson resigned abruptly on Dec. 1, and Whitacre is serving as interim CEO until a replacement is found.
Also during the 38-minute chat, Whitacre said GM is considering repaying its government loans in one lump sum rather than in monthly installments. The company must repay the U.S. government $6.7 billion. The government hopes to be repaid at least part of the remaining $45.3 billion in aid it has given to GM when the company sells stock to the public sometime next year.
Whitacre often gave short answers during the chat, in which GM picked the questions. Follow-up questions were limited, and questions about Henderson's departure never came up, even though at least one was submitted.
No new job cuts are planned, Whitacre wrote. He also wrote that he had a productive meeting Monday with Klaus Franz, Opel's chief employee representative, at GM's headquarters. GM nearly sold off Opel, its European car business, but has decided to keep the brand. Still, Opel and its sister brand Vauxhall must undergo more revamping to have a shot at profitability, including layoffs at unionized factories and wage and benefit concessions.
"Lots of areas of agreement," Whitacre wrote. "Very few areas of disagreement. I think the future in Europe looks great."
He also said the company is talking with a couple of bidders for another brand that was expected to be sold -- Sweden's Saab. GM will decide on them by the end of the month.
GM had a deal to sell the money-losing Saab to specialty car maker Koenigsegg AB. But it fell through and two other bidders have emerged.
He said he is not satisfied with GM's current market share even considering the conditions of the depressed U.S. auto market. GM's market share is around 20 percent.
Whitacre wrote that he has specific sales and market share forecasts but he did not reveal them.
GM announced last week that it plans to hear presentations from some dealerships whose franchises were taken away and may take them back if they can prove that they met GM's criteria for keeping dealers.
Whitacre wrote that he can't give an exact number that GM would take back.