Case Study

Honeymoon interrupted: Mary Barra, CEO, GM (B)

5 pages
June 2014
Reference: IMD-7-1566

It had been two months since Mary Barra had faced two days of questioning in both the US Senate and House of Representatives. After a no-holds-barred investigation by Anton Valukas of Jenner & Block, the report into the ignition switch fault at GM was made public. It made grim reading – showing a company with a deeply troubled culture, including rigid silos, lack of accountability, and skewed priorities. Based on the report, Barra announces firings and other measures.

Learning Objective

1) To illustrate the challenges facing a newly-appointed CEO facing a major crisis. 2) To highlight how a company’s culture can distort organizational decision-making and contribute to a major safety failure costing lives. 3) To explore the extent to which the failure was a “predictable surprise” and how it might have been avoided. 4) To discuss how to approach changing a “toxic” culture in a large and complex organization.

Keywords
Transition, Chief Executive Officer, Succession
Settings
Northern America, United States of America
General Motors, Automotive, Automobiles
April to June 2014
Type
Published Sources
Copyright
© 2014
Available Languages
English
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