Mary Barra, new CEO of General Motors, becomes the first female CEO, not just for GM, but in the entire history of the American Automobile Industry. Plus, Ms. Barra’s a hottie who’s just 51 years old!
According to CNN, Mary Barra, currently executive vice president, will succeed current CEO Dan Akerson, 65, on January 15 2014, the company explained. Akerson is stepping down earlier than expected and to tend to his wife, who’s cancer is at an advanced stage.
But who is Mary Barra?
Ms. Barra is a married mother of two, who’s the graduate of Kettering University and got her MBA at Stanford, but joined GM when she was just 18 years old (her Dad worked for Pontiac for 40 years). Barra’s ranked 35th of Forbes list of Power Women.
According to Forbes, Barra’s the highest ranking woman at GM, and manages the design, engineering and quality of the General Motors’s 11 global brands. Mary’s focus has been on building at least 500,000 vehicles with electrification in some form (including hybrids) by 2017.
Mary Barra clearly signals a new direction for GM, but in looking at the move, its hard not to think that Yahoo!’s appointment of Marissa Mayer had some influence. Like Barra, Mayer is, well, even younger, very attractive, and very smart – both have proven themselves to be more than capable managers in their fields. Both were hired to push their companies in new directions.
A very exciting development that indicates a truly maturing World industrial society. It also proves Forbes’ Dan Buss totally wrong, as he wrote that a female CEO of a car company was “far from imminent.” Buss wrote:
But many insiders believe that any of these women would have to wait at least until the second turn of top leadership at Ford and GM — or may be bypassed altogether, meaning a still-further-out generation of female leadership would be called upon to produce the first woman chief of either company. Some industry executives and experts told me they don’t think this will happen for another 10 to 20 years.
From this move, it’s clear Dan Akerson wanted to move that development up a decade. This was his move, and it flies in the face of the auto industries’ male-dominated management and media. But make no mistake about it, Mary Barra has been on the list of a number of people to be the first to break the glass-ceiling in the car industry, and she did.
Stay tuned for more, and congratulations to Mary Barra.