Akerson Claims Barra Wasn’t Thrown Under the Bus
I’m not one for conspiracy theories—usually—but having watched the GM ignition switch story unfold over the last six months, I’ve actually got some lingering doubts about the official story coming out of General Motors. As my fellow editor Kyle Johnson posited, as have several auto industry experts, it seems possible (probable?) that Mary Barra might have been set up when promoted to GM CEO.
Of course, Dan Akerson has something to say about that, and it’s “of course not.” Yup, in a recent interview with Forbes, the former GM CEO says that Barra wasn’t thrown under the bus in any way. I’ll pause here for laughter.
Here’s why I find it so hard to believe. Like Barra has before, Akerson asserted in his interview that, in regards to the ignition switch issues that were brewing, Barra “didn’t know about it.” But despite Barra’s assertion that she didn’t know any specifics about the defects or the impending recall until January 31st of this year when she was promoted, she stated under congressional questioning that she was, however, aware of an analysis that involved the Cobalt back in December, meaning that Akerson was likely also aware of this analysis.
But that’s not all that happened back in December. That’s also conveniently when Akerson announced he would retire a year early, right when the you know what began to hit the fan. Now I do not intend to discredit his wife’s battle with cancer, because I am absolutely sure that that had a large part to do with his retirement. However, that can’t be the only reason he retired—to spend more time with his wife—because in March of this year, he accepted a position as Vice Chairman and Special Advisor to the Board of Directors of Carlyle Group, his old employer, which would eat up a considerable amount of his time.
I can’t say with certainty that Akerson is lying when he says that Barra wasn’t thrown under the bus, but I’ve got a pretty icky feeling about the whole thing. What is perhaps most infuriating is that Akerson isn’t being held accountable at all. He’s retired, he’s gone, he’s washed his hands of all this business—and that just doesn’t seem right.
So I turn it over to you. Do you think Akerson is telling the truth when he claims that Barra wasn’t thrown under the bus, or is there more going on than meets the eye?
- Timothy MooreManaging Editor
Timothy Moore hails from Dayton, Ohio, and tries to bring that Midwestern flavor to his writing. (But as it turns out, no one really likes the Midwestern flavor.) He has been covering the auto industry for years, with several national auto shows under his belt, but he’s been writing about lots of other things (like dragons and Mickey Mouse and cows drowning in milk) since he was just a tot. Outside of the land of cars, Timothy enjoys watching The Office and consuming excessive amounts of peanut butter and beer, and is on the board of an up-and-coming Dayton theatre company called The Playground. And when he’s not on stage (or three jars into a peanut butter binge), Timothy spends time with his mischievous dog, Greyson. See more articles by Timothy.