GM fires 15 execs, sets crash victim fund as recall probe report released

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Detroit, MI, United States (4E) – General Motors (GM) announced Thursday the firing of 15 employees and compensation of victims of crashes caused by an ignition switch flaw as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the report on the investigation of a delayed recall by the automaker.

GM CEO Mary Barra made the announcement before more than 1,000 employees at a town hall meeting broadcast around the world.

“We failed our customers. We didn’t do our job,” Barra said as she blamed to incompetence and neglect the 10-year delay in the recall of 2.6 million cars linked to at least 13 deaths and 54 crashes.

“The board, like management, is committed to changing the company’s culture and processes to ensure that the problems described in the Valukas report never happens again,” GM Chairman Tim Solso said in a statement.

Among those fired were Engrs. Ray DeGiorgio and Gary Altman, a senior lawyer and at least one vice president. Five other executives were disciplined.

The crashes could have been prevented had GM employees diagnosed the ignition switch problem properly from the beginning and disclosed their findings, Barra said. She said the failure in the GM’s system will be fixed through 90 recommendations of former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas, who finished a 3-month independent investigation of the delayed recall.

Valukas’ findings are contained in a 300-page report submitted on Monday to GM and posted by the NHTSA on its website on Thursday afternoon. The report did not find a conspiracy to cover up the safety problem and cleared senior management of wrongdoing.

Barra said the automaker will compensate victims of the crashes but not all owners of the 2.6 million vehicles that were recalled. She also said more recalls are expected this summer as the automaker continues to look at all issues. GM has recalled a record 15.8 million vehicles worldwide this year due to different issues.

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