What This Means for Auto Makers, Glass Ceilings and You
Today General Motors named Mary Barra, a 33 year veteran of the automaker, as its CEO, succeeding Dan Akerson, the executive credited with the company’s turnaround. Barra, as head of global product development, was already one of the highest ranking women in the auto business, and has been recognized as critical to the company’s turnaround.
Her customer centric focus will keep the momentum going and set examples for not only other female executives, but companies looking for strong leaders, too.
With the appointment, Barra becomes the first woman to lead an auto company, and is an acknowledgement by General Motors that the role of women in both building and buying cars is critical to the company’s future; women make or influence 85% of all car purchase decisions.
The power of this influence can be seen in new model introductions that Barra’s team has brought to the market, cars that feature what women want: cars that are safer, more efficient, more intuitive and better looking, to appeal to all of their customer’s needs. The strategy has paid off; GM returned to profitability last year and repaid its government loans ahead of schedule.
Barra’s career with GM—including stints in manufacturing, engineering and leadership—and her focus on customer satisfaction, in addition to her role as a mom, certainly give her more insight into what her customers want. And that give us the confidence that GM’s future, with Barra at the helm, is a bright one.