GM CEO: No more serious safety issues are lurking
A thorough review of General Motors’ safety issues is nearing completion and hasn’t turned up any more serious problems, the company’s CEO said Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters before the company’s annual meeting, Mary Barra also said that personnel changes related to a deadly ignition-switch problem are finished. The company forced out 15 workers last week after an outside attorney blamed them for failing to act on the problem. Five others were disciplined.
The meeting comes just days after former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas issued a report that blamed an inefficient corporate structure and misconduct or poor decisions by some employees for allowing a deadly defect in an ignition switch to go undisclosed for more than a decade. GM this year has recalled 2.6 million small cars with the faulty switches.
They have been blamed for more than 50 crashes and at least 13 deaths.
Barra further said GM may “tweak the structure here or there” but she doesn’t expect major changes.
GM began reviewing past safety issues after the ignition switch problem became public, resulting in a total of 15.8 million recalled vehicles in North America. Barra says the review has been extensive, but said the ignition switch issue was a “unique series of mistakes” made by the company over many years.
“I have nothing to conclude that there’s anything like this,” she said of the ignition-switch recall. “We’ve been digging pretty deep.”
Barra said there likely will be a few more recalls, but those related to the review should be announced by the end of June.
Board Chairman Tim Solso gave Barra a vote of confidence, saying the board is pleased with her work and that she and her team “will lead General Motors to make the necessary changes.”
GM has hired attorney Kenneth Feinberg to come up with a way to compensate families of those killed and people injured in crashes caused by the faulty switches.
Barra wouldn’t say how much the compensation would cost, saying it was up to Feinberg. She said compensating people is the right thing to do for GM customers, the company and for shareholders.
Shareholders voted for the company-nominated slate of 12 directors, including for the first time a representative from the United Auto Workers union. Former UAW Vice President Joe Ashton was among those elected.