GM recall probe prompts executive departures - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

GM recall probe prompts executive departures

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"More than a dozen" employees are departing General Motors as a result of the probe into its ignition switch recall linked to at least 13 deaths, a company source has told CNN.

"It's not layoffs," said the source. "They did something wrong."That internal probe, conducted by former federal prosecutor Anton Valukas, is due to be released at 9 a.m. ET by GM CEO Mary Barra. Names of the executives and engineers who will be leaving the company were not immediately available. Valukas will not attend the presentation of the report. Barra is due to start with an address to GM employees and then go before reporters to answer questions on the report. She'll later answer questions from stock analysts.

GM (http://i.cdn.turner.com/money/.element/img/7.0/main/GlobalSprite_1x.png); background-attachment: scroll; background-repeat: repeat;">GM) admitted in February that its engineers first discovered the problem with the ignition switch as early as 2004, but it did not recall the 2.6 million cars affected until earlier this year. The faulty ignition switch made the cars prone to shutting off while on the road, disabling the airbags, power steering and anti-lock brakes.

GM estimates 13 people died as a result of the flawed ignition switch. But the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), other safety experts and families of people killed in recalled cars have said that number doesn't include all the victims who should be counted. The company faced two days of grueling Congressional hearings in April and agreed to a$35 million fine from safety regulators. It is the subject of a criminal probe. Congress and NHTSA are continuing their investigations, and the company faces wrongful death lawsuits from victims' families. Barra, who became CEO in January, has said she had to wait until Valukas' probe was completed before she could answer many of the questions posed by lawmakers. She is due to brief lawmakers by phone on the results ahead of the report's release.

The company, on Valukas' advice, has already placed two engineers on paid leave in what Barra referred to as an "interim step." Related: GM recall - Deciding what a life is worth One of the engineers, who worked on the ignition switch, was accused by lawmakers of lying during a deposition in a wrongful death lawsuit. Barra conceded in response to questions that it appeared he was lying, but she said she wanted to wait for Valukas' report

Barra admitted in testimony before Congress that GM was wrong not to order the recall much earlier, and she has apologized repeatedly for the delay. The recall has prompted a change in GM's process for deciding when to order recalls and has prompted nearly 16 million recalls worldwide this year -- a record for the company. GM has said it will cost about $1.7 billion to make the repairs on all those recalls.

GM tapped Valukas to lead its own investigation into the recall delays in March, and he vowed he would conduct a thorough and independent probe into the delays. A former U.S. Attorney, he is best known as the court-appointed investigator that looked into the causes of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. 
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