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GMAC CEO Alvaro de Molina steps down

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Troubled auto and home lender GMAC Financial Services said Monday CEO Alvaro de Molina is stepping down.

Michael A. Carpenter, a member of the company’s board of directors, has been named his successor.

De Molina’s sudden resignation comes as the lender is in the midst of negotiating with the Treasury Department over a third round of taxpayer assistance. GMAC is instrumental to the operations of automakers General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, but its finances have been haunted by bad loans it made during the housing boom.

GMAC, based in Detroit, said it has asked the federal government to postpone any decision on additional taxpayer aid until Carpenter and the company’s management assess the company’s situation and can advise Treasury on the amount needed and what form it might take.

De Molina said in a statement it was a “good time for me to move on to my next chapter,” though he did not say his next move.

“I came to GMAC thinking that it was a short-term assignment working through a liquidity crisis. That crisis lasted two years,” he said.

De Molina was named GMAC’s CEO in 2008 by the private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, which held an ownership stake in the lender at the time. He was recruited the year before as chief operating officer after spending 17 years at Bank of America Corp.

Carpenter, 62, has been on GMAC’s board since May. He was previously CEO of Citigroup’s Global Corporate and Investment bank from 1998 to 2002. He headed investment bank Salomon Smith Barney until it merged with Citigroup and also held leadership positions at Travelers Group Inc. and Kidder Peabody Group Inc.

GMAC said Carpenter has resigned from the board of the commercial lender CIT Group, which is operating under bankruptcy protection, to devote his full attention to GMAC.

GMAC provides the financing for dealers and customers of GM and Chrysler and its survival is a crucial part of the Obama Administration’s restructuring of the auto industry.

But the company continues to fare poorly. Earlier this month, the lender said it lost $767 million during the third quarter, as bad loans in its mortgage division, ResCap, weighed on its books. Its auto lending division, however, posted a profit.

GMAC has received $12.5 billion in taxpayer money. It has been in talks with the Treasury Department over additional aid after the federal government’s “stress tests” revealed that GMAC was unable to raise the $11.5 billion that regulators said it needed to withstand losses if the economy sours.

Treasury officials stressed that they had nothing to do with Molina’s decision to step down. Treasury spokeswoman Meg Reilly said the decision was “100 percent GMAC’s.”

That’s in contrast to the Obama administration’s ouster of GM CEO Rick Wagoner earlier this year, who was pressured to step down as a condition for taxpayer aid.

Associated Press Writers Stephen Manning and Daniel Wagner contributed to this report from Washington.

© 2009 Associated Press. Displayed by permission. All rights reserved.

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