General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) has named Jeff Boyer as the company’s new safety chief. This places a single person in charge of recalls and safety issues. GM is currently dealing with a massive recall involving ignition switch problems in 1.6 million compact cars. The recall is connected to over a dozen deaths in vehicles like the Chevrolet Cobalt.
The new safety chief was announced by newly appointed GM CEO Mary Barra. Boyer will communicate with senior managers across the company and board members. He will be responsible for the development of safety systems, vehicle testing, and the safety of cars after they are sold.
?If there are any obstacles in his way, Jeff has the authority to clear them,? stated Barra. ?If he needs any additional resources, he will get them.?
The U.S. Justice Department and two congressional committees are investigating the recall. GM acknowledged that the issue was known as early as 2003. There were multiple company investigations, but the recall was not initiated until last month. GM failed to consider four fatal accidents in one of the models, but did not issue a recall in that case.
?Something went wrong with our process in this instance, and terrible things happened,? said Barra in a that was video on GM?s media website.
GM announced the recall on February 13th. The recall included over 780,000 Cobalts and Pontiac G5s along with 842,000 Saturn Ions, Chevrolet HHRs, Saturn Skys, and Pontiac Solstices being added two weeks later. The ignitions are subject to wearing down due to heavy keychains or people that drive regularly on rough surfaces. The switch can change from run to off, which cuts off power-assisted steering. This could also cause airbags to lose function.
Prior to the promotion, Boyer was the executive director of engineering operations and systems development. He also worked as the head of global interior engineering and safety performance. Boyer started working at GM in 1974 while a college student at Kettering University in Flint.