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GM’s Rough Road to Recovery

General Motors CEO Mary Barra was on Capitol Hill today testifying about her company’s ongoing recall crisis.

Barra was better positioned today than she was two months ago when she last hauled before Congress.  This time she had alongside her Anton Valukas, a former federal prosecutor who GM brought in to investigate the matter.  While his report was ugly at least Barra was able to point to progress  being made on finding out what happened, disciplining those responsible, and moving toward compensating the families of those killed in ignition switch-related crashes.

Having survived her hearing, we think it is time for Barra to sit down for an interview with a major news organization.  So far, beside Congressional appearances, all of her public comments have come in the form of carefully scripted speeches (mostly to her own workforce.)  She needs to step up and take her communications to the next level.

15-Seconds co-founder Bill Harlow was on Varney & Company of Fox Business News this morning giving a preliminary review of Barra’s performance.



Clearly GM has a long way to go to turn the situation around.  Mechanical fixes are easier than cultural changes.  It was recently revealed that GM lawyers told their engineers to not use phrases like “widow-maker,” “Hindenburg” and “rolling sarcophagus” when describing their vehicles. No kidding.  While we always recommend to clients that they avoid using negative words in their responses, we definitely DO NOT recommend writing them all down for investigators to later find.

While Harlow was at  FNC, host Stuart Varney took the opportunity to ask him about President Obama’s recent poll numbers and wisdom of taking part in a lot of golf outings and fund raisers during challenging times.  A clip of that segment is below:


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