GM Says Executive in Ignition-Switch Probe Retired TodayTim Higgins
General Motors Co. said Jim Federico, an executive involved in the investigation of faulty ignition switches, has decided to retire, effective yesterday. He was executive director of global vehicle integration.
The automaker has recalled 2.59 million small cars with possibly faulty switches that have been linked to at least 13 deaths. Congress, federal regulators and the U.S. Justice Department are all investigating why it took GM more than a decade to recall cars with switches that allowed the key to slip out of the “on” position, shutting off the engine and disabling air bags.
“After a 36-year career with General Motors, Jim Federico has decided to retire from the company to pursue other opportunities,” Greg Martin, a GM spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement. “We congratulate him on his retirement and wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”
His departure isn’t related to the recalls, Martin said.
Harley-Davidson Inc., the motorcycle maker based in Milwaukee, said today that it has hired Federico as its vice president of engineering. He’s set to start the role on June 2, Harley-Davidson said. Reuters earlier reported the move.
Federico’s retirement follows other high ranking leaders’ departures in recent weeks. GM has announced that John Calabrese, vice president of global vehicle engineering, is also retiring. His department will be split into two organizations called Global Product Integrity and Global Vehicle Components and Subsystems and be run by newly assigned executives. Federico reported to Calabrese, Martin said.
Barra named a new head of human resources and placed Bob Ferguson, head of Cadillac, in charge of public policy as well. GM’s top spokesman, Selim Bingol, left last month.
The company has said it had put two engineers on paid leave for their roles leading up to the recall. The engineers are Ray DeGiorgio and Gary Altman, according to two people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified commenting on a personnel matter.
Automotive News earlier reported Federico’s retirement. He was one of the executives involved in looking into why cars were stalling in 2012, according to GM records released by a House panel last month. Federico, 56, held different jobs during the period related to small- and compact-car development. For a time, he oversaw the company’s in-house investigator who failed to unravel the source of the defect or its poorly documented fix.
Brian Stouffer, an engineer who investigated the ignition switches, described Federico’s role as one of helping investigators acquire resources. Federico was assigned as the so-called champion of the investigation in 2012 and was on it less than a year, according to Stouffer, who testified in a deposition related to a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia.
GM was unchanged at $34.75 at the close in New York and has declined 15 percent this year.