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GM fires 15 people following ignition switch investigation [UPDATES]

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UPDATE 2: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made the full Valukas report available at its website, as a PDF download. If you’d like to read it in it’s full, 325-page glory, you can do so here.

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GM said it has fired 15 employees related to those series of failures unearthed by Valukas.

General Motors said a pattern of “incompetence and neglect” led to a decade-long defect in an ignition switch that has killed at least 13 people, and probably more.

On Thursday morning, CEO Mary Barra said she had reviewed an internal report on the safety crisis compiled by an outside investigator, former US Attorney Anton Valukas, and that the company had taken aggressive action to fix problems and ensure such a pattern never occurs again.

General Motors said it has fired 15 employees related to those series of failures unearthed by Valukas during his investigation and disciplined five more. At least half the employees dismissed were executives, Barra said.

She did not provide specifics on the people or their positions – with the exception of confirming that Ray DeGiorgio, a design release engineer of the Chevrolet Cobalt who had previously been placed on involuntary leave, is one of the 15 dismissed.

GM also confirmed Thursday that Kenneth Feinberg, an independent consultant hired by the company in the wake of the fiasco that erupted in February, will administer a compensation fund to provide financial funds for victims of the problem, including those who lost loved ones or were injured in defect-related crashes.

Barra said the Valukas report was “extremely thorough, brutally tough and deeply troubling.”

Barra said the Valukas report was “extremely thorough, brutally tough and deeply troubling,” and depicted a company that valued “bureaucratic processes” over both safety and its customers.

Earlier documents had revealed GM had known about the hazards of the defective ignition switches for more than a decade, yet done nothing to fix them, all while motorists were injured and killed in crashes caused by the flaw.

General Motors has recalled more than 2.5 million cars across the world because of the faulty switches. In the ensuing fallout, GM has issued 29 recalls to date that affect 15.8 million cars in North America.

GM did not make the Valukas report available for viewing Thursday, though the company said it would be available on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website at a later time.

For all the focus on safety Thursday, the company left some key questions unanswered.

It said all decisions made regarding the victims’ compensation fund would be answered by Feinberg, who wasn’t available for comment Thursday. Barra said he would determine the dollar amount victims receive, determine who is eligible for the fund and, ultimately, determine the number of fatalities caused by the defect.

Feinberg, the company said, will solely determine the criteria and rules.

GM also did not say how it would handle legal claims from victims’ families who may decide to not work with Feinberg. Their legal status has been a sensitive point, with many legal experts believing their liability is shielded by its 2009 bankruptcy.

Scroll down to find the official GM press release, and the full text of Barra’s speech, below.

Continue reading GM fires 15 people following ignition switch investigation [UPDATES]

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