Mary Barra

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Mary Barra
Mary Barra 2014.jpg
Born
Mary Teresa Makela

(1961-12-24) December 24, 1961 (age 59)
NationalityAmerican
EducationKettering University (BS)
Stanford University (MBA)
OccupationChairman and CEO of General Motors
Spouse(s)Anthony Barra
Children2
Parent(s)Ray Makela, Eva Makela

Mary Teresa Barra (née Makela; born December 24, 1961) is an American businesswoman who has been the chairman and CEO of General Motors Company since January 15, 2014.[1] She is the first female CEO of a 'Big Three' automaker.[2][3][4] On December 10, 2013, GM named her to succeed Daniel Akerson as chief executive officer.[2] Prior to being named CEO, Barra served as the executive vice president of Global Product Development, Purchasing, and Supply Chain at General Motors.[2][3]

In 2018, Barra was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering for leadership in automotive manufacturing, product engineering, and product development.

Early life[edit]

Barra was born in Royal Oak, Michigan to parents of Finnish descent.[5][6] Her grandfather, Viktor Mäkelä, moved to the United States and married Maria Luoma, a Finnish immigrant from Teuva. They lived in Mountain Iron, Minnesota, and had three children, including a son named Reino,[7] called Ray. Barra's father, Ray, married a second-generation Finnish American named Eva Pyykkönen, and Mary was born in 1961.

Education[edit]

Barra graduated from the General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) in 1985, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering.[8] Barra was inducted into the engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi.[9] She then attended Stanford Graduate School of Business on a GM fellowship, receiving her Masters in Business Administration degree in 1990.[10]

Career[edit]

General Motors[edit]

Barra started working for General Motors in 1980 as a co-op student, when she was 18 years old.[11] Her job was checking fender panels and inspecting hoods, and she used this job to pay for her college tuition.[12] She subsequently held a variety of engineering and administrative positions, including managing the Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly plant.[10]

In February 2008, she became vice president of Global Manufacturing Engineering. In July 2009, she advanced to the position of vice president of Global Human Resources, which she held until February 2011, when she was named executive vice president of Global Product Development.[10][13] The latter position included responsibilities for design; she has worked to reduce the number of automobile platforms in GM.[2] In August 2013, her vice president responsibility was extended to include Global Purchasing and Supply Chain.[14]

When Barra took over as chief executive of General Motors in January 2014, she became the first female head of an automobile manufacturer.[15]

During her first year as CEO, General Motors issued 84 safety recalls involving over 30 million cars.[16] Barra was called before the Senate to testify about the recalls and deaths attributed to the faulty ignition switch.[17] Barra and General Motors also came under suspicion of paying for awards to burnish the CEO and corporation's image during that time.[18] The recalls led to the creation of new policies encouraging workers to report problems they encounter in an attempt to change company culture.[19]

As CEO, Barra made GM move into driverless and electric-powered cars through acquisitions including Strobe, a startup in driverless technology.[20] In 2017 GM began to sell the Chevy Bolt EV, beating rival Tesla to the first electric car priced under $40,000 with a range of 200 miles.[21]

In 2017, Barra was the highest paid Detroit Three executive, with a total remuneration of $21.96 million.[22] In November 2018, Barra announced the closure of five North American plants and 14,000 worker lay offs.[23] Her decision was criticized by President Trump, who threatened to remove the company's government subsidies in response.[23]

Boards and councils[edit]

Barra was a member of the General Dynamics board of directors. She serves on the board of directors of the Detroit Economic Club and Detroit Country Day School.[24][25][26] She is a member of the Stanford University Board of Trustees, the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council, and the Duke University Board of Trustees.[27][28]

In August 2017, she was elected to the board of Disney.[29][30][31] She was the 12th person elected to this board, and the fourth woman.[32]

Awards and honors[edit]

Barra was listed as 35th on Forbes Most Powerful Women list in 2013, rising in rank to fourth most powerful in 2018.[33]

In May 2014, she delivered the commencement address for University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus at Michigan Stadium, and received an honorary degree.[34] In 2018, she received an honorary Doctorate from Duke University.

Barra was first in Fortune's Most Powerful Women list in 2015, up from second the year before.[35]

She remained in the number one spot in Fortune's Most Powerful Women of 2017[36] and Number 5 on Forbes World's 100 Most Powerful Women List in the same year.[37]

In April 2014, Barra was featured on the cover of Time's "100 Most Influential People in the World."[38]

In December 2016, Barra joined a business forum assembled by then President-Elect Donald Trump to provide strategic and policy advice on economic issues.[39] However, she left the forum in 2017, following Trump's response to the Charlottesville protests.

Barra was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in February 2018.[40][41] In September 2018, Barra was awarded the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute's Legend in Leadership Award.[42]

In Institutional Investor's yearly survey of top executives, the 2019 All-America Executive Team, Barra achieved the first place in the autos and auto parts sector.[43]

Barra was selected for the inaugural 2021 Forbes 50 Over 50; made up of entrepreneurs, leaders, scientists and creators who are over the age of 50.[44]

Personal life[edit]

Barra is married to consultant Tony Barra, whom she met while studying at Kettering University, and has two children and two dogs.[2] They live in Northville, a suburb of Detroit. She also owns an apartment in Downtown Detroit[45]

She has named the Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird as her favorite cars.[11] Barra can speak a little Finnish.[46]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Muller, Joann. "Exclusive: Inside New CEO Mary Barra's Urgent Mission To Fix GM". Forbes. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e Vlasic, Bill (December 10, 2013). "G.M. Names First Female Chief Executive". The New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Dan Akerson to Retire as GM CEO in January 2014 Mary Barra to Become Next CEO; Dan Ammann Named President". General Motors. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  4. ^ Wayland, Michael (February 5, 2020). "GM swings to a loss in the fourth quarter as 40-day strike erodes profits". CNBC. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  5. ^ Taylor, Alex (December 17, 2012). "Mary Barra: GM's next CEO?". CNN/Fortune. Archived from the original on December 14, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  6. ^ Niskakangas, Tuomas (December 16, 2013). "New CEO of automotive icon is of Finnish descent". Helsinki Times.
  7. ^ "A Look at Mary Barra, GM's First Female CEO". The Wall Street Journal. December 10, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  8. ^ "Meet Mary Barra, Kettering graduate '85 | Kettering University Online". online.kettering.edu. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  9. ^ "Tau Beta Pi - NAE class 2018". Knoxville, Tennessee: Tau Beta Pi. Archived from the original on April 2, 2020. Retrieved April 2, 2020. Mary T. Barra, Michigan Zeta '85
  10. ^ a b c "Mary Barra: Executive Profile & Biography". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Mary Barra, G.M.'s New Chief, Speaking Her Mind". The New York Times. December 10, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  12. ^ "GM CEO Mary Barra says too many women quit their jobs for the wrong reason". Quartz at Work. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  13. ^ Bunkley, Nick; Vlasic, Bill (January 20, 2011). "G.M. Names New Leader for Global Development". The New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  14. ^ "About GM: Mary T. Barra". General Motors. Archived from the original on January 21, 2016. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  15. ^ Rebuilding a Giant: Mary Barra, CEO, General Motors, New Corner, June 5, 2015
  16. ^ "General Motors (GM): Safety Recalls Add Up to 84 in 2014". Zacks Equity Research. Retrieved January 5, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "GM reverses openness pledge: Our view". USA Today. July 23, 2014. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  18. ^ "Is General Motors buying awards for Mary Barra?". Autoblog. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  19. ^ "GM CEO Mary Barra says too many women quit their jobs for the wrong reason". Quartz at Work. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  20. ^ Vlasic, Bill (October 9, 2017). "G.M. Acquires Strobe, Start-Up Focused on Driverless Technology". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  21. ^ Ross, Christopher (April 26, 2016). "A Day in the Life of GM CEO Mary Barra". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  22. ^ "GM paid CEO Mary Barra nearly $22M in 2017".
  23. ^ a b Ferris, Robert (November 26, 2018). "GM to halt production at several plants, cut more than 14,000 jobs".
  24. ^ "Dykema Chairman and CEO Peter Kellett Elected to the Detroit Economic Club Board of Directors". www.dykema.com. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  25. ^ "Detroit Country Day School announces new trustees, including GM CEO Mary Barra". The Oakland Press. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  26. ^ Grossman, Jay. "GM CEO Mary Barra joins Detroit Country Day School Board of Trustees". HometownLife. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  27. ^ Burden, Melissa. "GM CEO Barra joins Stanford University board". Detroit News. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  28. ^ "Three Join Board of Trustees". today.duke.edu. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  29. ^ Golum, Rob; Welch, David (August 24, 2017). "Barra elected to Walt Disney board". Automotive News.
  30. ^ McNary, Dave (August 24, 2017). "General Motors Chairman Mary T. Barra Joins Disney Board of Directors". Variety. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  31. ^ "GM CEO Mary Barra Joins Disney's Board Amid Successor Search". Fortune. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  32. ^ "Disney Adds General Motors CEO to Board of Directors". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  33. ^ "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  34. ^ Goudreau, Jenna (2012). "Mary Barra". Forbes. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  35. ^ "Mary Barra". Fortune. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  36. ^ "Mary Barra". Fortune. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  37. ^ "World's Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  38. ^ Iacocca, Lee. "Mary Barra: The World's 100 Most Influential People". TIME.com.
  39. ^ Bryan, Bob (December 2, 2016). "Trump is forming an economic advisory team with the CEOs of Disney, General Motors, JPMorgan, and more". Business Insider. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  40. ^ "National Academy of Engineering Elects 83 Members and 16 Foreign Members" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Engineering. February 7, 2018. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved April 2, 2020. For leadership in automotive manufacturing, product engineering, and product development.
  41. ^ "Class of 2018 Elected : New Members". The Bridge. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences. 48 (1): 47. Spring 2018. ISSN 0737-6278. Archived from the original on April 2, 2020.
  42. ^ "Chief Executive Leadership Institute Honors Mary T. Barra with Legend in Leadership Award". Yale School of Management. September 24, 2018. Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  43. ^ Whyte, Amy (November 13, 2018). "These Are America's Top Executives Jamie Dimon, Tim Cook, and Mary Barra are among members of II's 2019 All-America Executive Team". Institutional Investor. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  44. ^ Gross, Elana Lyn; Voytko, Lisette; McGrath, Maggie (June 2, 2021). "The New Golden Age". Forbes. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
  45. ^ Bennett, Jeff; Murray, Sara (December 11, 2013). "Longtime Insider Is GM's First Female CEO". The Wall Street Journal. pp. A1, A10. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  46. ^ "Barra's Finnish roots". Yle Uutiset. December 16, 2013. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
Business positions
Preceded by
Daniel Akerson
CEO of General Motors
since January 15, 2014
Succeeded by
current
Preceded by
Tim Solso
Chairmen of the Board of General Motors
since January 4, 2016
Succeeded by
current