Two GM lawyers, quality control exec among those pushed out over switch
By Ben Klayman
DETROIT, June 9 (Reuters) - Two product litigation attorneys and a quality control executive are among the 15 employees who have been forced out by General Motors Co over the company's poor handling of a defective ignition switch linked to at least 13 deaths, according to two people familiar with the decisions.
Attorneys Jaclyn Palmer and Ronald Porter, who had settled several of the cases involving Chevrolet Cobalt cars involved in accidents where the air bags did not deploy, are no longer at GM, said the sources, who asked not to be identified discussing names the company has not public disclosed. Director of Field Performance Evaluation Maureen Foley-Gardner, also was pushed out.
None of the three employees identified by Reuters on Monday could be reached on their personal phones for comment. Their names were no longer recognized at the main GM switch board. GM declined to comment.
GM has said that 15 employees are "no longer" with the company due to their handling of the switch recall. GM announced the departures along with the results of an internal probe last week, and Reuters has now identified a total of 11 of the 15, mostly lower level employees.
Last week, GM said it fired two engineers who had been on paid leave and sources identified six other executives forced out. The most senior identified by Reuters is Michael Robinson, the former North American general counsel who later became vice president for environmental, sustainability and regulatory affairs.
The GM report particularly blamed the legal team for failing to act on signs of a safety issue, although General Counsel Michael Millikin kept his job. Three attorneys have left, in addition to Robinson and the two identified on Monday, taking the total to six.
Foley-Gardner's exit has not been reported, while other media have identified Palmer and Porter as two of the 15 no longer with GM.
CEO Mary Barra said last week that, of the 15, "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" to investigate causes of fatal crashes and inform senior management. Continued...