US: facing renewed criticism, Barra skips award event image

General Motors said that its chief executive officer, Mary Barra, has decided not to attend an even hosted by the National Women’s History Museum.

The executive of the No. 1 US automaker should have been present during the even because she was getting an honor – but the company decided to skip the public appearance after an advocacy group and families who lost loved ones objected.

The renewed criticism is coming just as Barra and the carmaker’s executives were heralding the end of the ongoing ignition switch debacle – only to find out that their ides colluded with the public opinion. The scandal came back in the public’s attention after revealing emails that show the automaker ordered replacement parts for the defective ignition switch months before issuing the safety report towards the US federal regulator (the legal term is five days).

GM said in a statement late yesterday that “CEO Mary Barra will not attend the de Pizan Honors next Monday, November 17th,” after during the day Laura Christian of Maryland, the birth mother of Amber Marie Rose (a 16-year old victim of a 2005 crash linked to GM’s ignition switch) sent a letter to congressional co-chairs of the event. The letter was sent on behalf of more than 260 friends and family members of people with serious injuries or death cases stemming from the faulty ignition switch recall.