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GM recall report: CEO Mary Barra fired 15 people over the debacle

GM's internal investigation claims there was no coverup at the carmaker and that senior management including Mary Barra had no knowledge of the fault prior to the recall.

By
Ananth Baliga
General Motors GM Company CEO Mary Barra speaks at a Chevrolet press event as part of the New York International Auto Show in New York City on April 15, 2014. UPI/John Angelillo
General Motors GM Company CEO Mary Barra speaks at a Chevrolet press event as part of the New York International Auto Show in New York City on April 15, 2014. UPI/John Angelillo | License Photo

DETROIT, June 5 (UPI) -- General Motor's internal investigation into its faulty ignition switch recall shows that CEO Mary Barra fired 15 employees for being incompetent or irresponsible.

Barra addressed 1,200 GM employees Thursday at the company's Warren, Michigan facility saying that the findings of the report were "enormously painful" and detailed the "fundamental failure" of GM's ability to address safety concerns.

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The report was conducted by former U.S. attorney Anton Valukas and showed that Barra and other senior management had no knowledge of the faulty ignition switch before the recall was issued and that there was no cover-up in the decade-long failure to recall cars with the defect.

"This should have never happened. It is simply unacceptable," Barra said. "From start to finish, the Cobalt saga was riddled with tragedy."

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Among those fired were Ray DeGiorgio, the engineer in charge of the flawed part, and Gary Altman, a program engineering manager. GM's top lawyer, Michael Millikin, was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Analysts have said that the release of this report would be a turnaround experience for the company, which has since January recalled around 15 million vehicles for different safety snags. The ignition switch-related recall covers 2.6 million cars and has so far been linked to 13 deaths.

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"This is a huge turning point for Mary in terms of getting it all out in the open, but it's not the end," said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at AutoTrader.com. "Fixing this is going to take more than getting rid of some people and moving boxes around on the org chart. This is going to require culture change and an ongoing vigilance."

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