DETROIT — Another General Motors engineering executive is retiring in the wake of the automaker’s mishandled recall of small cars.

GM says Jim Federico elected to retire after 36 years with the company. Federico plans to work outside the auto industry.

Federico was in charge of vehicle performance and safety leading up to the company’s February recall of 2.6 million older-model small cars for defective ignition switches. He was also the chief engineer for global small cars starting in 2010, and may have known about ongoing internal investigations into the switches.

Federico reported to global engineering chief John Calabrese, who recently retired after 33 years at GM.

Congress, the Justice Department and others are investigating why GM took more than a decade to recall the cars after finding problems with the switches.