Case Study

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

4 pages
December 2015
Reference: IMD-7-1740

More than a year had passed since Anton Valukas of the law firm Jenner & Block had published his report on the General Motors ignition switch scandal. While Mary Barra, GM’s CEO, had moved quickly to deal with its findings, the federal prosecution was still hanging over the company. As well as a potentially huge fine, GM faced the possibility it and its employees would have to plead guilty to criminal offences. The company had been charged with scheming to conceal a deadly safety defect from its US regulator as well as wire fraud. The findings from the investigation by federal prosecutors would be announced and it was impossible to say what the result would be for GM.

Learning Objective

To illustrate the challenges facing a newly-appointed CEO facing a major crisis.

Transition, Chief Executive Officer, Car, Succession
Northern America, United States of America
General Motors, Automotive, Automotive, Automobiles
Published Sources
© 2015
Available Languages
Case clearing houses
IMD case studies are distributed through case clearing houses. In order to browse the collection and purchase copies please visit the links below.

The Case Centre

Cranfield University

Wharley End Beds MK43 0JR, UK
Tel +44 (0)1234 750903
Email [email protected]

Harvard Business School Publishing

60 Harvard Way, Boston MA 02163, USA
Tel (800) 545-7685 Tel (617)-783-7600
Fax (617) 783-7666
Email [email protected]

Asia Pacific Case Center

NUCB Business School

1-3-1 Nishiki Naka
Nagoya Aichi, Japan 460-0003
Tel +81 52 20 38 111
Email [email protected]


Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications

Discover our latest research
IMD's faculty and research teams publish articles, case studies, books and reports on a wide range of topics