General Motors CEO Mary Barra stated yesterday that GM employees are “galvanized” by the findings of its internal investigation into defective ignition switches in 2.6 million small cars that have been linked to 13 deaths, exposing an incompetent organizational culture.
“They are absolutely owning the report,” Barra said of the 325-page report released last week by consultant attorney Anton Valukas. Valukas’ investigation found no corporate cover-up but blamed incompetence and a lugubrious culture for allowing the issue to sit unknown for more than 10 years.
The investigation cleared Barra and her top executives of wrongdoing but led to the dismissal of 15 employees. “We feel we’ve taken the appropriate actions as it relates to the ignition switch recall,” she said before her first address to shareholders as CEO of GM. No additional dismissals are anticipated at this time.
Barra told Automotive News at the Renaissance Center that since the report was made public, employees are resolved to improve the company. “They know what this company can be. I feel tremendous engagement by the employees that they’re going to do the right thing. They’re raising issues, they’re asking questions.”
However, Barra admits that she and the rest of General Motors will have to push for change from within, especially since Valukas’ report faulted GM for the lack of individual accountability. “It’s about using the learnings and the failings to make sure that we improve the whole development process and the culture,” she said.