DETROIT—General Motors has dismissed 15 employees, including at least eight executives, after an internal investigation found “a pattern of incompetence and neglect” that led to 11 years of delays in recalling millions of cars for a fatal defect, CEO Mary Barra said on June 5.
Barra promised that the company would address future safety issues far differently, warning employees that failing to report risks would make them “part of the problem” and even inviting them to contact her directly if they couldn't get potential defects addressed themselves.
She said the report by former federal prosecutor Anton Valukas found no evidence of an intentional cover-up or that “any employee made a tradeoff between safety and cost,” concluding employees initially believed it to be a customer-satisfaction issue rather than one that could lead to crashes or deaths.
Barra said GM plans to set up a compensation fund for people affected by crashes related to the ignition switch, though details about the plan have not been finalized.
GM executives said Feinberg would set eligibility rules for the compensation fund, meaning he could decide to count deaths that are not among the 13 that GM has tallied.
President Dan Ammann said victims or the families of those killed could opt out of the fund and choose to pursue a traditional lawsuit, but if they do they will have “the same legal rights that they do today.”
That means GM could assert in court that it is not liable for pre-bankruptcy crashes. Ten of the 12 deaths identified by Automotive News, a sister publication of Rubber & Plastics News, and many of the non-fatal crashes occurred before GM's bankruptcy.