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The CEO Magazine
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Mary Barra – One Company Career

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Mary Barra – One Company Career

Pulkit Sharma || The CEO Magazine

Mary T. Barra created history in 2014 when she became the first-ever women to lead an automobile company. Before she overtook Dan Akerson to be the next CEO of General Motors, she was serving the company as an executive vice president of supply chain, global product development and purchasing.

Marry-Barra

Early life and Education

On 24th December 1961 in Royal Oak, Michigan, Reino and Eva were blessed with a child and they named her Mary. Her grandfather, Viktor Mäkelä moved from a place called Kankaanpää, in Satakunta to United States and got married to a Finnish girl named Maria Luoma. They used to live in Minnesota’s mining town of Mountain Iron and had three children, one of them was Reino also known as Ray who was the father of Mary Barra.

She developed her interest in cars and engineering because her father worked at a Pontiac car factory for over 39 years in Detroit.  Mary attended and completed her schooling from Waterford Mott High School in Michigan and later she was graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Kettering University formerly known as General Motors Institute at the age of 18. In the year 1990, she completed her degree of MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business on a scholarship by General Motors.

General Motors

General Motors Company is one of the biggest multinational companies in the whole world. They design, produce, advertise, sell vehicles and its part around the world but their head office is located in Detroit.

General Motors was founded by William C. Durant in 1908 with a dream of becoming the biggest automobile manufacture not only in America but in the whole world. In the list of largest US corporations according to revenue by Fortune, GM was ranked at no. 10.

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General Motors is a well-renowned brand as they manufacture cars in more than 37 countries. Car companies like Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac are part of this brand. They also own stakes in various foreign brands like Holden, Wuling, Baojun, and Jiefang and in the year 2016, they recorded a sale of over 10 million vehicles worldwide.

Mary’s Career in General Motors

Mary Barra began to work at the General Motors right after she was graduated from GMI. In her early days, she used to check fender panels and inspected hoods later she held various positions of administration and engineering in General Motors like managing the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly.

With her dedication and hard work she achieved many crucial positions in the company like she became Vice President of Global Manufacturing Engineering in 2008, then she served as the Vice President of Global Human Resource from 2009 to 2011, after this she was appointed as Executive Vice President of Global product development. There is no doubt that she has proved herself at every position of the company, therefore, she was offered to be the Vice President of Global Purchasing and Supply Chain in the year 2013.

 With all her accomplishments over the years, she was appointed as the CEO of General Motors in 2014 and she became the first woman to lead any automobile company.

Main focus of Barra as the CEO of GM is to improve the technology of automobiles and to develop driverless cars, keeping this in mind she acquired Strobe which is a start-up that focuses on driverless automobile techs. She also led the company to develop first-ever electric car Chevy Bolt EV, defeating their competition Tesla. Inc. This car was priced just under $40k and a range of over 200 miles.

Later in 2018, Mary ordered to close five plants in North America and because of this decision more than 14,000 workers were left unemployed. Her decision was criticized by many including President Donald Trump as he said that all the government subsidies will be taken from General Motors.

Despite of all this, she has accomplished many things in her life like- she was on the 35th position on the list of Forbes most Powerful Women in 2013 and raised to the second position in 2018. She also received her Doctorate from Duke University in 2018 and in the year 2015 she was on the top of the list of Fortune’s most powerful Women list.

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