The female CEO of General Motors Co., Mary Barra, has taken the first position in Fortune magazine’s list of most powerful women in 2015.
Barra, 53, has been GM’s chief since 2014 and was described by Fortune as leading the Detroit automaker “out from under the shadow of its 2014 ignition-switch recall.”
The recall that regarded GM’s faulty ignition-switches concluded that the defects led to 124 deaths and cost GM billions of dollars, numerous lawsuits and investigations from the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission and other 50 state attorneys general and Transport Canada.
The business magazine reported that “In recent months she has beaten back headwinds from weak international markets, as sales of expensive trucks and SUVs have soared. Barra was one of the few female CEO participants in the viral #ilooklikeanengineer Twitter campaign, which promoted women in tech.”
The head of GM has recently joined Facebook, where she just initiated her own page, identifying herself as a “public figure”, perhaps in an attempt to deliver a less intimidating title than chief executive of one of the most powerful automakers in the world. This could also use as an encouragement for GM employees to report any issues they encounter straight to the boss. Barra’s choice was made after the ignition switch crisis that took place last year, situation of which GM employees had been aware for years, but stayed silent on the topic.
Mary Barra took the 2nd spot last year on the same list, managing this year to surpass Indra Nooyi, the chairman and CEO of Pepsi Co. and Ginny Rometty, the CEO of chairman and president of IBM, the first female leader there, and who else but Taylor Swift, the singer who only managed to rank no. 51 on the same list.