DETROIT, March 18 General Motors Co on
Tuesday named a new vehicle safety chief who will be responsible
for heading off issues like the faulty ignition switches linked
to 12 deaths and the recall of more than 1.6 million vehicles.
Jeff Boyer, a GM veteran who has been with the company for
more than 40 years, has been appointed vice president of global
vehicle safety, effective immediately.
The No. 1 U.S. automaker said Boyer's responsibilities will
be "to quickly identify and resolve product safety issues,"
including handling recalls. Boyer, who was executive director of
engineering operations and systems development, will provide
frequent updates on vehicle safety to Chief Executive Mary
Barra, senior management and the board of directors.
"Jeff's appointment provides direct and ongoing access to GM
leadership and the board of directors on critical customer
safety issues," Barra said in a statement.
"This new role elevates and integrates our safety process
under a single leader so we can set a new standard for customer
safety with more rigorous accountability," she added. "If there
are any obstacles in his way, Jeff has the authority to clear
them. If he needs any additional resources, he will get them."
In the last two months, GM has recalled more than 3.3
million vehicles globally, following the announcement on Monday
of three new recalls affecting 1.75 million vehicles, most in
the United States.
Barra said on Monday that the Detroit automaker would take a
$300 million charge in the first quarter, primarily to cover the
costs related to the ignition-switch recall and the three new
recalls. She also said there would be "more developments to
announce" in the future as the company works to improve its
GM said that when the ignition switch was jostled, a key
could turn off the car's engine and disable airbags, sometimes
while traveling at high speed. Barra previously apologized for
GM's failure to catch the problem sooner.
The decade-long process that led to last month's
ignition-switch recall of such older GM models as the 2005-2007
Chevrolet Cobalt and 2003-2007 Saturn Ion has led to government
criminal and civil investigations, congressional hearings and
class-action lawsuits in the United States and Canada. All ask
why GM took so long to address a problem it has said first came
to its attention in 2001.
In his new safety job, Boyer, 58, will report to John
Calabrese, vice president in charge of global vehicle
engineering and be a member of global product development chief
Mark Reuss's staff, GM said. Boyer will have global
responsibility for the safety development of GM vehicle systems
as well as post-sale safety activities, including recalls.