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GM Chooses Veteran Employee for New Vehicle Safety Post

March 20, 2014

General Motors Co. created a new vehicle safety post and recently named a veteran employee for the job.

On Tuesday, the number one automaker in the United States announced that Jeff Boyer has been named vice president of global vehicle safety and he will assume the post immediately.

The new position was made in the wake of the delayed recall of over 1.6 million vehicles due to faulty ignition switches, which are linked to at least 12 traffic deaths. The post was created to avoid similar issues in the future, as the vehicle safety chief’s main responsibility is to immediately identify and resolve product safety problems.

In a statement, GM said that Boyer “will have global responsibility for the safety development of GM vehicle systems, confirmation and validation of safety performance, as well as post-sale safety activities, including recalls.” Chief Executive Mary Barra noted that the new position “elevates and integrates our safety process under a single leader so we can set a new standard for customer safety with more rigorous accountability.”

According to the company, Boyer will be regularly and frequently updating Barra, senior management and the board of directors regarding vehicle safety concerns. “Jeff’s appointment provides direct and ongoing access to GM leadership and the board of directors on critical customer safety issues,” says Barra.

The appointment confirms the promised change in the way GM will handle future recalls. U.S. car manufacturers like GM have a committee consisting of three executives that decides on vehicle recalls. The CEO, the company president and other top level executives are not included in this team.

Boyer, who has been working for the carmaker for over 40 years, is eager to take on the new challenge. “Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers in the vehicles they drive. Today’s GM is committed to this, and I’m ready to take on this assignment.”

Boyer seems like the right man for the job. He started his career in GM as a co-op student in 1974, and has since held leadership positions in senior engineering as well as safety and process. He once assumed the role of a total vehicle integration engineer. He was Executive Director of Global Interior Engineering and Safety Performance, a position which made him in charge of the performance and certification of GM vehicle safety and crash-testing. Afterward, he served as Executive Director of Engineering Operations and Systems Development.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University and a Masters of Business Administration from Michigan State University.

As GM’s new vehicle safety chief, Boyer will report to John Calabrese, the vice president of global vehicle engineering. He will also be the newest member of the automaker’s global product development staff, headed by Mark Reuss, executive vice president of global product development, purchasing and supply chain.

On Monday, Barra said that GM will take a $300 million charge to shoulder the costs related to the ignition switch recall as well as the three recent recalls. The automaker will take the charge in the first quarter.

Photo credit: © General Motors CC BY-NC

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