With The Government Gone, GM Can Now Start Paying Its Execs Big Bucks

Among the news of Mary Barra's appointment to CEO and a clearer explanation of his earlier-than-expected exit, retiring General Motors CEO Dan Akerson told reporters today that without government oversight, the automaker's pursestrings are a little looser.

We listened in on today's conference call with Akerson where he revealed the difficult choice to leave GM due to an unfortunate family crisis. He turns the reins over to Barra, whom he reiterated was highly qualified to lead a global automaker.

Akerson spoke highly not just of Barra, but Mark Reuss (now senior vice president of global operations), Dan Amman (who moves up to president of GM) and other executives and mentioned that executives could be rewarded on performance-based merits. In other words, the money is flowing again.

One-fourth of executive salaries will be tied to vehicle quality, Akerson said, and such qualities will be measured each quarter. How can they do this? Because, as stated earlier, they're no longer dictated how to spend government loans now that they're raking in their own profits.

It's too early to say if GM will spend their money in other ways (hint-hint: Bring back Pontiac) but it's safe to say that if you're a GM executive, congrats! A Christmas bonus is just around the corner.

[Photo via AP]