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GM Engaged in Cover Up of Ignition Switch Problems

Lawyers claim new documents show effort to hide problem.

by on Mar.17, 2015

29-year-old Brooke Melton was killed in a crash involving her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt.

The law firms handling one of the high-profile lawsuits against General Motors due to its faulty ignition switch allege the automaker actively engaged in a cover up problems that led to the deaths of more than 65 people.

During a news conference on Monday, attorneys for the family of Brooke Melton, who died in 2010 as a result of an accident tied to the faulty switch, said documents produced by GM and the supplier of the switches, Delphi Automotive, under seal, show that high-level executives knew there was a problem with the switches, but declined to do anything about it.

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GM declined to comment on the press conference. (more…)

Akerson Claims Didn’t Know about GM’s Cultural Issues

Former CEO lauds Barra’s handling of crisis.

by on Jul.28, 2014

Former GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said he was unaware of how deep the company's cultural issues ran.

Former General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson now knows what he didn’t know then: the automaker’s cultural problems ran deeper than he realized when signed on in 2009.

Appointed by the Obama Administration to the automaker’s board and later taking over as CEO in 2010, Akerson told the Detroit News that recent recall crisis shows him that the problems with the company’s culture were worse than he imagined.

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“I think we all — including the new and the old part of the management team — didn’t fully realize how deep some of the problems ran,” said Akerson. “I think we built a good foundation. I think the company needed a lot of change, and I said a lot of that culture wasn’t where we wanted it to be.” (more…)

New GM CEO Barra Focused on Pleasing Buyers

Strong balance sheet helps with investment, innovation.

by on Jan.23, 2014

GM's new CEO Mary Barra says the automaker must focus on giving customers innovative vehicles.

General Motors must focus on satisfying customers with great products, while making sure the company’s various regions and brands are sharing best practices and working towards uniform goals and objectives, GM’s new chief executive officer said Thursday.

“To me, what’s important is we’re focused on the product,” Mary Barra, GM’s new chief executive, said during a meeting with reporters at the company’s Detroit headquarters.

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“I believe General Motors is an iconic company. People recognize the role that it plays. But at the end of the day, I don’t expect to get any free passes. It will depend on the strength of products and our brands. Public opinion is a bunch of individual opinions,” said Barra, who stressed the need for GM to deliver top-notch products throughout the meeting. (more…)

Akerson Opens Up: Behind the Scenes at GM

Now-retired CEO on the bailout, turnaround and his successor, Mary Barra.

by on Jan.16, 2014

Now former GM CEO Dan Akerson recently shared some insights on his tenure at the automaker.

In a complicated business in a complicated world, Dan Akerson took over as General Motors chairman and chief executive officer after attending exactly seven meetings of GM’s reconstituted board of directors.

But little more than a year after emerging from its 2009 bankruptcy, the automaker was about to face another crisis: its short-time Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre decided he didn’t want to work that hard and resigned – just before GM was set to pitch the largest IPO in corporate history. It wasn’t quite a case of drawing straws, but Akerson was clearly surprised to be offered the job – and unsure of how his family might react.

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“After 40 years of marriage, it wasn’t something you discuss over the phone,” noted Akerson, who flew home to Northern Virginia with some trepidation to explain his decision to his wife, the one-time Navy officer revealed during an unscripted and revealing 50-minute discussion of his time at GM during the annual Automotive News World Congress. (more…)

A Woman CEO “Inevitable” at a Detroit Big Three Automaker, says GM Chairman Akerson

Current chief exec’s talk of a “car gal” puts focus on GM global product chief Mary Barra.

by on Sep.25, 2013

Is GM product czar Mary Barra on her way to becoming the maker's next CEO?

While he has said he is in no rush to retire, General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson dropped a big hint about who might eventually replace him, telling his audience at an automotive conference in Detroit that it is “inevitable” a “car gal” will eventually run one of the Motor City’s Big Three automakers.

GM has already come a long way from the days when its management team was dominated by “car guys” in gray flannel suits. It currently has four women on its board of directors and six women rank among its corporate officers. And there has already been buzz that Mary Barra, the maker’s senior vice president of global product development could be on the short list of those with a shot at eventually replacing Akerson, who turns 65 next month.

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“You’ll have more women in board rooms and more women in senior management 10 years from now, at least I hope so,” Akerson said during a speech to the 2013 Michigan Automotive Summit.

Women have been slowly gaining a foothold in the auto industry over the last three decades, but for the large part, most have been assigned to traditionally “female” roles in senior management, such as Human Resources, public relations or environmental affairs.


GM Losing Two Key Executives

Tech chief Stephens retiring, by Korean CEO Arcamone switches careers.

by on Jan.16, 2012

GM V.Chairman and chief tech officer Tom Stephens will retire in April, one of two key GM executives announcing their departure.

The last of General Motors’ old guard is stepping down, Chief Technology Officer Tom Stephens announcing he’ll retire in April. But the American giant is also losing the head of its strong South Korean unit, Mike Arcamone revealing he will leave the auto industry for a new career in aerospace.

The departure of GM Vice Chairman Stephens is no surprise, considering he spent 43 years with the Detroit maker.  Stephens was the only senior executive left at GM from the ranks of top managers in place prior to the company’s 2009 bankruptcy.

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The 63-year-old Stephens had served in a variety of roles since joining GM as a co-op student in 1969.  He was considered a driving force behind a variety of engineering changes at the maker, including one of GM’s first serious efforts to introduce lean manufacturing at a Cadillac engine plant in the mid-1980s.