His retirement comes amid a major shakeup in GM's global engineering team. The company recently split it into two separate divisions – Global Product Integrity and Global Components and Subsystems. The integrity side focuses on enforcing vehicle standards, and the components side does traditional development. John Calabrese, vice president of global vehicle engineering, also announced his retirement during the change.
According to Automotive News quoting Congressional and legal documents, Federico led an investigation in October 2012 into the ignition switches that were later recalled. His group attempted to learn why the airbags weren't deploying and considered increasing the torque on the switches. He later left that team because of an excessive workload.
Federico also helped engineer a wide variety of GM products, including the Cadillac CTS, Buick Regal, Chevrolet Spark and many more. GM spokesperson Jim Cain told Autoblog that no replacement for him has been named at this time. "Jim plans to take on new engineering and design challenges outside of the auto industry," said the company's official statement on his retirement. Scroll down to read it in full.
As one of GM's leading and accomplished engineers, Jim has played a key role as Chief Engineer and Vehicle Line Executive in a number of our successful vehicles, including the Opel Insignia, Mokka and Adam; Buick LaCrosse, Regal, Verano, Excelle and Encore; Cadillac CTS and XTS and the Chevrolet Spark, Beat, Sonic, Trax, Cruze and Impala. Jim's programs have received multiple awards including Car of the Year winners and Top Safety Picks. Jim has been recognized in leading trade publications for his engineering contributions to some of GM's successful products.
Jim started as a GMI co-op at Chevrolet Rear Axle in Buffalo, NY. Over his GM career, he has held a number of positions in Lansing for Oldsmobile, BOC and LAD, at the proving grounds for CPE, Pontiac with the Truck Product Center, Warren for Cadillac, Germany for Global Mid & Full Size cars, around the world covering Global Mini, Subcompact, Compact and Electric vehicles, then part time in Korea for Global Subcompact before he landed back in Milford for his most recent position as head of Global Vehicle Integration, Proving Grounds and Labs.