John Calabrese, GM’s vice president of global engineering, has decided to retire from his position – marking the biggest executive change since the onset of the defective ignition switch recall.
Calabrese, which has been a longtime colleague and key “lieutenant” to GM’s new CEO Mary Barra, has worked with her in various roles for the past 15 years – assuming his current position three years ago.
This is the highest executive shuffle since at the end of February General Motors started a recall that would encompass numerous models and 2.6 million cars in relation to a defective ignition switch – a problem linked to more than 30 accidents and 13 deaths so far.
The top executive engineer’s departure also follows last week’s exit of both the vice president in charge of global human resources and global communications and public policy.
According to Mark Reuss, the global product development boss, Calabrese’s departure is not linked to the ignition switch recall, and noted that his position would be split in two – aiming to improve the safety of new vehicles. The global vehicle engineering organization is now also split in two units: global product integrity, and global vehicle components and subsystems. Also, the company has moved to more than double the number of people in charge of investigating customer vehicle complaints.