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No Further Dismissals Planned for GM

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Jarod Cassidy3 years ago

General Motors CEO Mary Barra has announced that the automaker will not be dismissing any more employees in connection to the company’s defective ignition switch which has been linked to atleast 13 deaths, according to Reuters.

GM Fires 15 Employees

“Some were removed because of what we consider misconduct or incompetence. Others have been relieved because they simply didn’t do enough.” – Mary Barra as published by Reuters

Last week, General Motors fired 15 employees, many of who were at senior levels in the company, and disciplined five others in connection to the automaker’s handling of a defective ignition switch installed in 2.6 million GM vehicles and the subsequent recall of the affected vehicle models.

The firings came after an internal investigation headed by U.S. attorney Anton Valukas which indicated that the employees had either acted negligently or had not taken reasonable measures to ensure the safety defect was reported to the appropriate people.

Among those fired were GM’s top recall lawyer Bill Kemp and GM’s general director of vehicle safety and crashworthiness Gay Kent. In his report, Valukas claims that both Kemp and Kent had knowledge of the recall and ongoing lawsuits, but that information was somehow never reported to GM’s executive members.

GM Execs Left in the Dark?

Both Kemp and Kent were part of a legal group working under General Counsel Michael Millikin. According to the report, the group had approved multiple settlements in connection to vehicles affected by the defective switch, including one ignition-related lawsuit which was settled for $5 million dollars.

Yet, Valukas contends that Millikin was somehow kept in the dark and had no knowledge of the multi-million dollar settlements being handed out by the group he was responsible for overseeing.

Valukas states that company policy did not require the group to get approval for settlements up to $5 million, and that such policies, whether written or perceived, led the lawyers and engineers to place legal concerns above solving the deadly defect.

Troubles Not Over for GM

Unfortunately, the completion of Valukas’ investigation does not mean that GM is out of the woods.

General Motors is still facing a number of investigations, including a probe by the Justice Department, future hearings before the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as numerous lawsuits filed by victims and families affected by the defective switches.


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