UPDATE 2-GM ignition-switch recall poses first big test for new CEO

Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:02pm EDT
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* Barra learned of ignition-switch issue two weeks after becoming CEO

* Lawyer leading probe investigated Lehman collapse

* U.S. safety regulators also investigating GM's handling of recall

* Two outside law firms in probe have conducted work for GM

By Ben Klayman

DETROIT, March 10 (Reuters) - In her first big test as General Motors Co's chief executive, Mary Barra has taken a hands-on approach behind the scenes in directing the automaker's response to ignition-switch problems that have been linked to 13 deaths.

On Monday, GM said the team conducting an internal probe ordered up by Barra of the recall of more than 1.6 million vehicles is being led by the lawyer who investigated Lehman Brothers after the financial services firm collapsed in 2008.

Barra has been heavily focused on the recall since she learned of the issue in late January, about two weeks after she took over as the industry's first female CEO.

The No. 1 U.S. automaker has said the recall to correct a condition that may allow the engine and other components, including front airbags, to be unintentionally turned off will begin next month when it has the replacement parts. Most of the affected vehicles are in North America.   Continued...