With one sweeping announcement General Motors went from conservative to cutting edge, from out of touch to an out-of-the-box decision, from old Detroit to (really, really) new GM. Even the competition took note.
General Motors, after more than three years with Dan Akerson at the helm, is in significantly better shape, though some may argue that the seeds for the improvement were sown before he arrived in Detroit.
It didn't take long for the horse race whispers to start after the Sept. 1, 2010, arrival of GM CEO Dan Akerson. He was 61 and, by his own admission, was appointed as a "transition CEO." Mary Barra, then human resources chief, vaulted into the conversation in January 2011, when Akerson put her in charge of product development.
Barra, 51, will be the first woman to run a global automaker and the 23rd woman heading a Fortune 500 company. While Barra's appointment is historic, it does not necessarily mean women no longer face barriers, female executives at automotive companies say.
When former General Motors vice chairman Bob Lutz appeared on Frank Beckmann's radio talk show on WJR-AM in Detroit last week, he praised Mary Barra, the company's new CEO, who has been doing Lutz's old job of head of product development.
In the aftermath of the UAW's bruising 56-day strike in 1998 of General Motors' stamping operations in Flint, Mich., GM dispatched a former executive assistant to repair the lines of communication between the company and union workers. It was Mary Barra's first and only communications job.
Who would have thought that General Motors, the Ward Cleaver of American business for most of its 100-plus years of existence, would be the first auto company to name a woman to the top job? Women have been leading other companies for some time now, but the change at the top of GM is one of those landmark events, like Bob Dylan going electric,...
Meet GoldieBlox -- a toy intent on shattering stereotypes and changing the future. GoldieBlox is a set of stories featuring heroine Goldie along with construction toys, her "blox." It targets girls ages 4 to 9.
General Motors named global product development chief Mary Barra, 51, to succeed Dan Akerson, making her the first female CEO of a global automaker. Akerson, 65, said he sped up his retirement schedule because of his wife's cancer. These and other executive moves take effect January 15.
Today's shake-up in GM's executive ranks gives responsibility for GM's most profitable region -- North America -- to Alan Batey, a hard-charging Briton who has been the face of GM to most of its U.S. dealers during the company's climb back from bankruptcy.
General Motors' next CEO is both a product of the company's bureaucratic, hidebound culture, and a crusader against it. Early in her tenure as GM's product chief, Mary Barra concluded that the company needed a new family of global, more fuel-efficient engines. And she figured GM would need a lot of them -- around 2 million units.
In the 39 months since Dan Akerson volunteered to be General Motors' CEO during a board meeting, the automaker has earned about $16 billion. Akerson, a former telecommunications executive and Navy lieutenant prone to using maritime metaphors, acknowledged he knew little about cars when he arrived in Detroit.
General Motors dealers responded positively today to news that Mary Barra will be the automaker's next CEO. They also praised the promotions of Mark Reuss to head of product development and Alan Batey to lead the automaker's North American operations.
In 1975, Maureen Kempston Darkes was the only woman executive in the General Motors' executive dining room. Her peers were all men. Today's news that GM had named Mary Barra as its new CEO, effective Jan. 15, thrilled Kempston Darkes.
Every five years since 2000, I have been in charge of a massive project at Automotive News -- seeking and learning about top female executives at automakers, suppliers and dealerships so we can compile the list of 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry.
The Treasury on Monday sold its last shares of General Motors stock, ending more than four years of government ownership in the nation's largest automaker at a loss of about $10.5 billion to U.S. taxpayers. The government said in a statement that it recouped $39 billion of its original $49.5 billion investment into GM.