GM dismissed 15 employees over delays in faulty switch ignition recall

Article by Andrew Christian, on June 6, 2014

Fifteen employees – including at least eight executives – at General Motors have been dismissed following after an internal probe found “a pattern of incompetence and neglect” that resulted to more than a decade years of delays in recalling faulty vehicles.

GM chief executive Mary Barra remarked that the carmaker would address future safety issues differently than it had and has warned employees that any failure to report risks would make them “part of the problem.” She also urged employees to contact her directly if they fail to have possible defects addressed themselves.

Barra disclosed that the investigation report submitted by Anton Valukas showed no evidence of an intentional whitewash or that “any employee made a tradeoff between safety and cost.” The report concluded that employees initially believed that the problem was a customer-satisfaction issue instead of being a fault that could result to crashes or deaths.

Barra disclosed that GM is planning to set up a compensation fund for those who were affected by crashes tied to the ignition switch. In a statement, GM Chairman Tim Solso said that the carmaker’s board of directors will establish a stand-alone committee to oversee “risk-management” issues.

He remarked that Valukas’ report concluded that Barra, GM President Dan Ammann and global product-development chief Mark Reuss were not aware of the faulty ignition switch matter until December 2013, just before the carmaker decided to issue a recall.

In a meeting with GM employees, Barra dubbed the report as “extremely thorough, brutally tough and deeply troubling.” She remarked engineers and others who had knowledge of the issues as early as 2003 “misdiagnosed the problem from the very beginning” and failed to treat the matter with the appropriate level of urgency.

Those who were dismissed include Ray DeGiorgio, designer of the ignition switch, and Gary Altman, the program engineering manager for the Chevrolet Cobalt, people privy with the matter told Automotive News. [source: GM]

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