Thursday's Breakfast Briefing: GM brings back former comms chief to deal with crisis

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Former GM comms chief returns
Steve Harris, who served as the chief spokesman for General Motors in two separate multiyear stints, is returning to the automaker to help it respond to the ignition-switch recall crisis that has been linked to 13 deaths. He held the top comms job at the company from 1999 to 2003 and again from 2006 to 2009. GM hired Clinton White House crisis communications specialist Jeff Eller as a consultant in April, weeks before SVP of global communications and public policy Selim Bingol stepped down. It also retained superlawyer Kenneth Feinberg to help it with possible financial restitution for victims’ families.

Barclays changes course, announces thousands of layoffs
UK-based bank Barclays said Thursday morning that it will step back from its position as an investment bank with plans to cut 19,000 jobs in the next three years, including 7,000 in its investment division, as it focuses on retail banking. "This is about Barclays’ future as a balanced and international bank," CEO Antony Jenkins told CNBC this morning

Sterling’s wife pushes to maintain control of Clippers
The NBA’s plans to remove Donald Sterling from his ownership role with the Los Angeles Clippers could be complicated by a push by his estranged wife to maintain her stake in the team. The league’s strategy for ousting Serling hinges on documents he signed more than 30 years ago that lay out reasons he could be removed from ownership.

White House faces public skepticism on climate-change push
President Barack Obama did interviews with TV weathermen across the country this week to discuss the White House’s report on the immediate effects of climate change. Yet The Wall Street Journal says breaking through with the public will be difficult, noting that climate change has ranked near the bottom of voters’ priorities in recent polls.

VA secretary says he has no plans to step down
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said he does not plan to resign, despite a report showing as many as 40 people died while waiting for treatment by the VA healthcare system. Influential veterans group the American Legion called for Shinseki’s resignation this week, as have several Republican lawmakers.

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