Melissa Howell, who was the senior vice president global human resources, will be replaced by John Quattrone. The company also announced the departure of Selim Bingol, senior vice president of global communications and public policy. Both Howell and Bingol, according to GM, left to pursue other interests.
The departures come a barely a week after GM announced the suspension of two engineers for their involvement in the delay in issuing a recall for faulty ignition switches that would shift from the "run" position to "accessory" disabling the airbags. GM has reported 31 incidents and 12 deaths related to the fault.
No successor was named for Bingol, who was hired by the former CEO Ed Whitacre, who was the first CEO after the bailout. Howell, who had been promoted to head of HR in 2013, had been with the company since 1990.
Top level management changes are not new when a new chief executive takes over. But Barra, who joined in January, has been embroiled in the recall crisis, having to deal with multiple investigations and has already testified before both houses of Congress.
Separately, Barra took to the corporate blog to communicate with her employees and customers. Barra spoke about the 'Speak Up for Safety' program, which encourages employees to give suggestions on how to make GM vehicles safer.
"GM employees have always been encouraged to raise safety concerns, whether openly or anonymously, and are empowered to be persistent. With the creation of the Speak Up for Safety program, we will have the opportunity to publicly thank and recognize them for their courage and openness," Barra wrote in the blog post.
[Wall Street Journal]