The recently appointed GM CEO, Mary Barra, the industry’s first female in such a position, has been facing what could be the company’s biggest crisis since the 2008-2009 bankruptcy.
According to former and current GM executives, Barra’s move to address the recall for 2.6 million on an ignition switch defect linked to 31 crashes and 13 deaths, is centered around a team that mostly comprises GM “lifers,” just like her.
The CEO’s inner circle includes only one “almost” newcomer, while the company also hired three consultants from outside to help deal with the ensuing scandal – which triggered five separate probes on GM.
“She’s not looking for personal advisors who would be separate from the management team,” said a person familiar with GM’s operations.
“Your inner circle has to include product development, because that’s where most of the people are; customer sales and service, because the dealers are the face of the company; and HR, because it’s recruiting, promoting and rewarding the right people,” a second person familiar with GM’s operations said.
Products chief Mark Reuss could be the closest ally, followed by chief counsel Michael Millikin, which is co-leading the internal review on the defect. The team also has on board Human Relations head John Quattrone, Alan Batey, who oversees the company’s dealers relations and former Wall Street banker Dan Ammann.