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General Motors has about 220,000 employees, but one had an outsized influence. Though a report details system-wide dysfunction that led to 5.8 million recalls for an ignition-related glitch linked to 13 deaths, it appears that Ray DeGiorgio, an engineer, was instrumental in allowing the flawed part to continue being used for years and then covertly replacing it, without informing anyone else at the company. The glitch, which causes some vehicles to shut off while in motion (thus disabling their airbags), is the subject of a federal probe of GM and a $35 million fine.

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