General Motors has recruited a veteran of the oil industry to serve as its next general counsel as it begins to dig out from the litigation surrounding the faulty ignition switch recall failure, which has already cost the company an estimated $3 billion.
GM appointed Craig B. Glidden to the role of Executive Vice President and General Counsel, effective March 1. Glidden will lead a team of attorneys who are integrated into all of GM’s regional and functional teams in more than 30 countries.
“Craig Glidden has had a distinguished career managing complex legal issues around the world, and his broad legal and senior management expertise fits perfectly with our strategic priorities and plans for global growth,” said GM CEO Mary Barra.
Glidden, 57, succeeds Michael Millikin, 66, who is retiring in July after a nearly four-decade legal career, including five years as GM’s general counsel.
“I’d like to thank Mike for all he has done to support GM throughout his 38-year career, and especially in the time he served as general counsel,” Barra said. “I wish him and his wife, Karen, all the best in retirement.”
Milliken had announced his resignation last summer after the company’s legal staff came under fire for its role in the ignition switch controversy, which was exacerbated by GM’s failure to disclose the problem to proper authorities. GM has insisted the failure to move quickly to repair the faulty ignition, which the automaker has acknowledged contributed to at least 56 deaths, was the fault of one engineer.
However, GM has since overhauled its recall processes.
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“I’m enthused to be joining General Motors and its management team to help drive the company forward,” said Glidden. “The company has made significant progress in recent years and I look forward to further advancing the business goals.”
Before joining GM, Glidden was executive vice president and chief legal officer for LyondellBasell Industries, one of the world’s largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies. He oversaw the company’s global legal, communications, government affairs and compliance groups.
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Besides litigation, Glidden, who while familiar with Washington D.C.’s regulatory procedures, has no hand-on expertise in areas such as autonomous driving, which are just beginning to emerge as issues for the auto industry. He was also be asked to clear a path for the wider use of GM’s electric vehicles, which are steadily emerging as a threat to vehicles that run on gasolne or diesel fuel.
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Prior to joining LyondellBasell in August 2009, Glidden served as senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. Prior to joining Chevron Phillips Chemical, he was in private law practice.
Glidden received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tulane University in 1980, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He obtained a juris doctor degree with high honors from Florida State University in 1983.