Mary Barra, GM’s first female chief product officer, might become the automaker’s next CEO.
Mary Barra has been working for GM for the past 33 years, being responsible for the quality and design of all the automaker’s vehicles. Barra was appointed in the current role in 2011 and many consider her to have a more reserved style, analytical thinking and personality than some of the colorful figures in the auto industry.
“The fact that she’s leaving Human Resources to take on The General’s most important task certainly has the scent of Old GM’s corporate politics on it,” wrote the Truth About Cars, an industry blog.
Barra plans to make GM as profitable as its global competitors, such as VW and Toyota, by following Billy Durant’s example, the one who founded the company more than a century ago. she will try to cut development costs by manufacturing more vehicles off the same parts, but at the same time avoiding what happened four decades ago, when the automaker earned a reputation for slapping Cadillac, Chevy and Oldsmobile badges on similar-looking vehicles to cut costs.
“Mary Barra has probably the hardest job in the global auto industry right now,” says Morgan Stanley’s Jonas. “If she can really knock the cover off the ball, she deserves to be CEO of GM.”