She is the first woman to run a global automaker, daughter to a GM “shop rat” who started at the bottom and worked her way up the ranks from a student starting job.

Well, although many might say she’s now probably in over her head because of the huge scandal around the defective ignition switch in 2.6 million cars, Mary Barra certainly could say it’s all paying off.

“In a perfect world, gender shouldn’t matter. So it’s about time someone of Mary Barra’s caliber and experience was appointed to the coveted position of General Motors CEO,” wrote Lee Iacocca, the legendary Chrysler Chairman who wrote about Barra on her Time 100 place. “If she remains as forthcoming as I’ve seen her on television with Congress, she will enjoy a long tenure at the helm.”

With a $1.3 billion cost for the recall, GM posted Barra’s first quarter as a profitable one – albeit only above the negative side – it lost 88% from last year and only brought in $125 million in earnings.

Now, although all her advisers and analysts say GM’s recall scandals is years from fading away and will likely cost the automaker billions and except a sudden and unexpected revelation that she was implicated in delaying the recall when serving as GM’s global product development chief, many observers say this will serve as the true test for Mary Barra’s leadership of the company.


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