Obama Swaps Car Czar Plan With Panel

Economic advisers, union mediator will aid decisions: official
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Feb 16, 2009 1:48 AM CST
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, left, and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers are expected to lead the auto panel.   (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
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(Newser) – The Obama administration has ditched the "car czar" idea, and is divvying up the task of reviving Detroit among a panel of top economic advisers instead, an official tells the New York Times. The Treasury secretary and National Economic Council chair will oversee the presidential panel of experts, many of whom are already helping General Motors and Chrysler craft their viability plans—due to be presented to the president tomorrow.

Restructuring expert Ron Bloom, who mediated between unions and steel and airline companies, will be named a special senior adviser on the auto industry to the Treasury Department. He's expected to aid faltering talks between the automakers and the United Auto Workers. GM and Chrysler—which received a combined $13 billion from the government two months ago—will likely seek billions more in loans as they present their latest cost-cutting proposals.