General Motors Co. has tapped its former public relations head Steve Harris as a consultant “to help guide [its] response” to the current recall crisis involving 2.59 million cars with faulty ignition switches. GM spokesman Greg Martin said in a statement that Harris’ deep background with GM and his proven experience will be of great help to the carmaker “during this period.”
Harris will become a part of a team brought in by GM chief executive Mary Barra tasked to make better responses to the recall crisis. The carmaker has already tapped Jeff Eller, a crisis-communications expert; and Kenneth Feinberg, who was credited for determining compensation for 9/11 survivors.
Feinberg is now working on what GM should do for victims of the crashes, which has so far included 13 deaths. Jenner & Block LLC Chairman Anton Valukas is in charge of an internal investigation who knew what, and when, about the ignition flaws.
Harris was GM’s vice president of global communications from 1999 until 2003, when he retired for the first time, according to his biography on McGinn & Co. He held the job once again from 2006 to 2009, after the GM’s bankruptcy reorganization.
Prior to GM, Harris was with DaimlerChrysler AG, responsible for Chrysler Corp.'s image rebuilding in the 1990s under executives like Lee Iacocca and Bob Lutz. Harris, however, spent the first 13 years of his automotive career at GM.