Barra is first GMI graduate to be auto CEO

Here's another bit of Mary Barra trivia: She's the first graduate of General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) to become CEO of GM or any automaker.

The 95-year-old engineering and management school in Flint, Mich., has been a breeding ground for GM executives for decades and has produced two company presidents, Pete Estes and F. James McDonald. But Barra, a 1985 grad, is the first CEO.

One of her former professors isn't surprised. Mohammad Torfeh, an electrical and computer engineering instructor, says Barra's leadership was evident during group assignments. He says Barra was a stickler for teamwork.

"As soon as I finished talking about what they needed to do, she was just going 200 miles per hour to do it," Torfeh told Automotive News. "But she was also making sure other classmates were doing it, too. She wanted to make sure everybody was participating."

GMI, which had its first female graduate in 1970, was sold by GM in 1982. Among its grads are GM global purchasing boss Grace Lieblein and Ford product development boss Raj Nair.

ATTENTION COMMENTERS: Automotive News has monitored a significant increase in the number of personal attacks and abusive comments on our site. We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and argue their points. We expect disagreement. We do not expect our readers to turn on each other. We will be aggressively deleting all comments that personally attack another poster, or an article author, even if the comment is otherwise a well-argued observation. If we see repeated behavior, we will ban the commenter. Please help us maintain a civil level of discourse.

Email Newsletters
  • General newsletters
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Mondays)
  • (As needed)
  • Video newscasts
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Saturdays)
  • Special interest newsletters
  • (Thursdays)
  • (Tuesdays)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Wednesdays)
  • (Bimonthly)
  • Special reports
  • (As needed)
  • (As needed)
  • Communication preferences
  • You can unsubscribe at any time through links in these emails. For more information, see our Privacy Policy.