DETROIT – It will take a couple of years for taxpayers to get back the billions they spent bailing out General Motors, but the company has a goal of returning the money, GM’s new CEO says.

Daniel Akerson said the government won’t be repaid with the company’s initial public stock offering, which could happen later this year.

Akerson, a former telecommunications industry executive and GM board member since July 2009, said the $50 billion government bailout of GM saved a lot of jobs and helped to preserve the country’s manufacturing base.

The bailout has bred resentment with some car buyers and hurt GM’s sales. The automaker hopes the stock sale will end its government ownership and raise money for investment and to reduce debt.

GM has repaid $6.7 billion of the money the government put up to save the company and get it through bankruptcy protection last year, and the remaining $43 billion was converted to a 61 percent ownership stake. GM has filed paperwork starting the process to sell stock to the public, and a sale could come as early as mid-November.

Akerson, GM’s fourth CEO in less than two years, also indicated that management will be stable in the future, saying he doesn’t expect to make any changes.