DETROIT May 5 A General Motors Co
engineer who oversaw an internal investigation of the defective
ignition switch linked to at least 13 deaths retired on Monday.
Jim Federico, 56, had been executive director of global
vehicle integration since September 2013, the No. 1 U.S.
automaker said. Before that he was executive chief engineer for
global subcompact cars and SUVs, and electric vehicles, and he
had worked at GM for almost 36 years.
According to GM documents made public last month by
Congress, Federico had received reports from an engineer in the
company's product investigations department trying to learn the
root cause of air bag failures in GM vehicles. That eventually
led to the defective ignition switch. In early 2012, Federico
had been a "champion" of that probe, a term used to identify a
senior executive who marshals internal resources.
GM spokesman Jim Cain said Federico's retirement was his
choice and had nothing to do with the switch recall. "We
congratulate him on his retirement and wish him the very best in
his future endeavors," Cain said.
In an internal announcement of the retirement, GM said
Federico planned to "take on new engineering and design
challenges outside of the auto industry." Federico could not
immediately be reached to comment.
(Additional reporting by Marilyn Thompson in Washington,
editing by Peter Henderson)