General Motors CEO: Internal Investigation Findings ‘Brutally Tough and Deeply Troubling’

GM CEO Mary Barra

Mary Barra, the chief executive officer of General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) described the findings of the internal investigation on the recall of  vehicles equipped with defective ignition switches as “extremely thorough, brutally tough and deeply troubling”  as it discovered a “pattern of incompetence and negligence” among the employees supposedly responsible to deal with the problem in a timely manner.

According to Barra, the internal investigation led by former U.S. Attorney and current chairman of Jenner & Block LLC Anton Valukas found that General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) did not cover-up the recall of vehicles with defective ignition switches that was delayed by more than a decade and cause 13 fatalities.

“What [the report] found was a pattern of incompetence and neglect. We will accept responsibility for our mistakes, and we will do everything in our power to make sure this never happens again. This is a test of our character and our values. We are not hiding from the truth,” said Barra.

She emphasized that Valukas’ reviewed millions of documents and interviewed hundreds of employees during his investigation. General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) submitted Valukas’ report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which will be responsible in releasing the full text of the report. The automaker did not reveal the entire findings of its internal investigation.

GM expels 15 executives

General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) fired 15 employees, majority are senior executives involved in the recall problem. The automaker did not reveal all the names of the terminated executives, but confirmed that engineers Raymond DeGiorgio and Gary Altman are among those who failed to perform their responsibilities in a timely manner to resolve the problem. Barra said GM’s general counsel Michael Millikin will continue to serve the automaker.

“Repeatedly, individuals failed to disclose critical pieces of information that could have fundamentally changed the lives of those impacted by a faulty ignition switch. If this information had been disclosed, I believe in my heart the company would have dealt with this matter appropriately.”

According to Barra, numerous parties within General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) – engineers, investigators and lawyers were aware about the problem, but nobody raised it to the highest level within the company. She said, “Overall the report found that, from start to finish, the Cobalt saga was riddled with failures which led to tragic results for many.”

GM implements compensation program for crash victims

General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) implemented a compensation for crash victims related to the defective ignition switches. The program will be handled by compensation expert, Kenneth Feinberg. He will be responsible in finding out how many people were injured or lost their lives and determine the process of providing financial compensation for the families of those killed or injured.