The moment captured a new sense of confidence that General Motors has been anxiously awaiting from Mary T Barra, its embattled chief executive. At a meeting on May 28 with 2,000 of GM’s sales and marketing employees, Ms. Barra sounded nothing like a leader under fire for the company’s failure to recall millions of defective cars for more than a decade.
Instead, she came across as a chief executive who fully expects to survive a crucial internal investigation of the recall that could be made public as soon as this week. “They keep saying the recall is hurting us, but you keep proving them wrong,” she said to cheers from the crowd. “I believe in this team, and I know you can do it.” GM will surely face skeptics of its in-house inquiry into the recall crisis.
But now GM officials increasingly believe that Barra will be cleared of wrongdoing in the recall crisis after a three-month investigation by Anton R Valukas, the former United States attorney.
Her tone at the sales meeting was almost defiant, and a far cry from her defensive posture at two congressional hearings in April.
It was the kind of rousing speech that has been missing at GM since Barra, just weeks into her tenure, and the entire company came under a cloud of suspicion for its delay in recalling cars with faulty ignition switches that it has tied to 13 deaths. Valukas’s report is expected to name executives, employees and departments within GM responsible for the delayed recall, and recommend changes at the nation’s largest automaker.