WASHINGTON, DC-General Motors CEO Dan Akerson said in a speech to the Economic Club of Washington, DC, Friday  that the company’s executive retention problems are likely due to pay limits, according to a story by the Associated Press .

Akerson said the company’s efforts to overcome its bankruptcy troubles are hampered by the salary limits the government put in place for companies that accepted federal bailouts.

"We have to be competitive. We have to be able to attract and retain great people," Akerson was quoted as saying. "We've been able to retain them but we're starting to lose them and I think that's an issue for our owners to recognize that in their best interest, there should be some relaxing."

The government gave General Motors $49.5 billion to bail out the company in 2008 and 2009.  U.S. taxpayers still own 33 % of the company.