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Engineer who investigated faulty switches exits GM

A top engineer at General Motors, who is linked to the company's investigation of faulty ignition switches, is leaving the automaker.

Jim Federico, who worked at GM for about 36 years, is exiting the company to pursue other opportunities.

His retirement comes just two weeks after another high-level GM engineer, John Calabrese, announced he would be leaving the company.

Their departures are the latest sign General Motors is shuffling product development executives as it continues its internal investigation into faulty ignition switches and the automaker's slow response to the problem, which has been linked to at least 13 deaths and 31 accidents.

Read MoreGM recalls nearly 52,000 SUVs

GM was quick to point out that neither Federico nor Calabrese was fired, and their retirements are unrelated to the ignition switch probe.

Jim Federico
Jeff Kowalsky | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Jim Federico

Federico once reported directly to current GM CEO Mary Barra, when she served as the head of product development for the automaker. In 2012, he led a group of GM engineers who looked into the faulty ignition switches. He eventually moved on to other assignments inside the company.

Read MoreGM discusses death and injury claims

It was not until February that GM recalled 1.3 million 2003 to 2007 model year vehicles to replace ignition switches that can slip while the car is in drive. When those switches slip into accessory mode, they can leave the vehicle with no electronics, power steering or airbags. The recall was later expanded to include almost 2.6 million cars.

Federico did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com.

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