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GM Appoints New Safety VP

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On: Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 2:33PM | By: Karen Cook

GM Appoints New Safety VP

If you follow automotive news you may already know about the huge fiasco at General Motors over faulty ignition switches in 1.37 million vehicles spanning six models and five production years from 2003-2007. This defect has caused more than 10 deaths to date and has spawned investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, two congressional committees, and the US Department of Justice. That’s not GM's only predicament at present though. There are three more recalls in the works which will encompass 1.5 million more vehicles due to a fault in the brake and airbag wiring harnesses.

In an effort to get ahead of what is ramping up to be some very negative publicity concerning the safety of GM vehicles, the manufacturer has created a new position and filled it with a Mr. Jeff Boyer. He has been with the company since 1975 when he came onboard as a co-op student; he holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. During his 39 years with the company he has served as executive director of engineering operations and system development, as well as executive director of global interior engineering and safety performance.

His new title will be Vice President of Global Vehicle Safety and will require him to oversee all GM recalls and keep tabs on the safety development of vehicle systems. Only Ford, among major auto makers, has a position like this. So what is the difference between his new position and others he previously held? The duties seem very similar on paper, but the main difference is power. According to a statement released by GM, “this new role elevates and integrates our safety process under a single leader so we can set a new standard for customer safety with more rigorous accountability. If there are obstacles in his way, Jeff has the authority to clear them. If he needs any additional resources he will get them.”

The additional “authority” gives Mr. Boyer access to GM executives and the board of directors who knew about the ignition switch problem way back in 2001, but did nothing to address the problem. I hope the new VP is up to the challenge; it’s a positive step by the company toward accepting responsibility for its safety defects.


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