General Motors is entering a new stage in the development of the ignition switch defect recall and its aftermath. For the moment, the top legal advisor of the company has been cleared of mishaps.
Back in February, newly appointed CEO Mary Barra ordered a recall that would encompass some 2.6 million cars that were equipped with defective ignition switches, which could cause a mid-driving engine shutdown, resulting in the loss of several key safety systems – with the problem linked so far to at least 13 deaths.
Later in March, GM ordered an internal probe into the mishaps that led to a late recall after people inside knew about the defect since 2001, with Michael Millikin, GM’s general counsel since 2009 and Anton Valukas, the chairman of Jenner & Block, co-leading the inquiry.
Now, it has been apparent that Millikin’s department was among those held for questions, but as the report came out and Valukas was its sole author, Barra was asked about her key legal counselor – with the CEO responding he was still on the job.
Further on, the report on the internal review has concluded that Millikin was one of the senior executives that had no prior knowledge of the defect before the January decision to start a recall. On the other hand, Barra said that 15 persons from four departments, including legal, were fired after the report’s conclusions.