April 16, 2014
As General Motors continues to manage fallout from its massive safety recalls, the automaker’s heads of communications and human resources have left the company, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Selim Bingol, 53, who was senior vice president of global communications and public policy, has been replaced on an interim basis by Randy Arickx, GM’s head of investor relations. John Quattrone, 61, will replace Melissa Howell, 41, as senior vice president of human resources.
A GM spokesperson said the departures were not connected to a nearly decade-long delay in recalling vehicles with faulty ignition switches that the company has linked to 13 deaths after cars unexpectedly shut off while being driven.
Since February, GM has recalled 7 million vehicles for a variety of safety issues, which also include problems with brakes. Chief Executive Mary Barra initially responded to the controversy by apologizing to families and lawmakers, launching an internal investigation and naming a safety czar to revamp GM’s recall procedures.
But she has since come under criticism for declining to answer several lawmakers’ questions during congressional hearings, insisting the company would first wait for the investigation to be completed.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it would fine GM $7,000 a day for failing to meet an April 3 deadline to answer questions relating to events before the recall, and threatened to turn the matter over to the U.S. Justice Department for prosecution, the Journal reports. — Greg Beaubien