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DETROIT, May 5 (Reuters) - 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)