WASHINGTON -- Ron Bloom, the president's former "car czar" who helped orchestrate the multibillion-dollar U.S. auto manufacturer bailout, is leaving his post by the end of August, a source familiar with the matter said Tuesday.
Bloom is stepping down for family reasons, the source told The Huffington Post. "He's been commuting to/from Pittsburgh" since he joined the Obama administration's auto team in February 2009.
Bloom, a former investment banker and longtime adviser to the United Steelworkers, played an integral role in managing the process that led to the reorganization of General Motors and Chrysler as they teetered on the edge of bankruptcy. In total, the government spent about $80 billion to bail out the companies.
He served as President Barack Obama's car czar from July 2009 through February 2011. During that time, he strongly advocated the idea of saving Chrysler over the objections of some of his colleagues. Last fall, he oversaw General Motors' initial public offering, which reduced the government's stake in the automaker to 26.5 percent from 61 percent.
Obama tapped Bloom to be his top manufacturing adviser earlier this year. Most recently, Bloom played a key role in the administration's effort to double fuel-economy requirements for automakers to 54.4 miles per gallon by 2025.
Bloom's departure could raise concerns among unions. Throughout the auto bailout, Republicans frequently knocked Bloom for giving favorable treatment to the United Auto Workers union over investors, who lost billions in the car manufacturers' bankruptcies.
UPDATE: 4:00 p.m. -- "We've faced many tough choices and dealt with numerous challenges over the past two and a half years -- from restructuring the American auto industry to developing historic fuel efficiency standards," Bloom said in a statement later Tuesday. "I am confident in this Administration’s ability to build on these accomplishments and continue our efforts to revitalize the manufacturing sector."
Obama hailed Bloom's accomplishments during his two and half years in the administration.
"Ron Bloom's leadership and expertise has helped us put America's automakers back on the road to recovery, launch new partnerships to make our manufacturers more competitive, and set aggressive fuel economy standards that will save consumers and businesses money at the pump," Obama said in a statement.
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