It was almost universally known that some employees at General Motors would be relieved of their positions after it was found that a faulty ignition switch was knowingly used in 2.6 million of the company’s small cars. All told, 15 employees were dismissed from GM and although CEO Mary Barra refused to identify them, Reuters managed to dig up some of the names.
Vice president for environmental sustainability and regulatory affairs, Michael Robinson, along with Gay Kent, general director of vehicle safety and crashworthiness and M. Carmen Benavides, director of product investigations and safety regulations, were among the 15 employees let go from GM.
Prior to his current position, Robinson held different positions on GM’s legal staff, including the general counsel for GM North America. Kent and Benavides were top safety officials at the time who sat in on internal meetings on the defective switches.
Also dismissed were William Kemp, a senior attorney overseeing engineering and safety issues, Lawrence Buonomo, head of product litigation at GM and Jennifer Sevigny, an attorney leading GM’s field product assessment group. Kemp was part of a legal review committee that discussed company lawsuits, while Buonomo chaired the same committee from 2012 onwards. Sevigny often worked with the legal staff on lawsuits and legal claims against the company.
Engineers Ray DeGiorgio, who designed the defective switch, and Gary Altman, chief engineer for the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion that used those switches, were also let go.
“Some were removed because of what we consider misconduct or incompetence. Others have been relieved because they simply didn’t do enough: They didn’t take responsibility (and) didn’t act with any sense of urgency,” Barra said during yesterday’s press conference on the findings of Anton Valukas’ internal probe.
Barra also said five other employees in addition to the 15 which were let go were disciplined, but declined to elaborate on the matter.