Sergio Marchionne

We've all been there: uttering words you almost immediately regret. You feel like an absolute idiot. But the next time that kind of situation comes up – and come up it will – know that you're not alone. Because Sergio Marchionne has had a bit of backtracking to do himself.

The captain of industry was recently quoted as referring to the public funds that helped him and his Fiat group take over Chrysler as "shyster loans." Not once, not twice, but thrice. And now he's had to apologize.

The loans received from the U.S. and Canadian federal governments were negotiated, according to analysts, at advantageous rates for that time in 2009 – when the banking system was paralyzed and, as Marchionne put it, "we couldn't have borrowed a buck from a 7-Eleven" – but the interest on which is now posing a burden on Chrysler's recovery.

In apologizing for the remarks, Marchionne noted his gratitude for the government bailout in helping Chrysler back from the brink at a time when no one else would have taken the risk. All the while, Chrysler is reportedly seeking to re-finance its debt at better interest rates with private financial institutions, while seeking additional low-interest loans through the Energy Department programs for fuel-efficient vehicles.

[Source: The Detroit News]