General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra’s success has apparently made her very popular in Washington D.C. these days.
President-elect Donald Trump asked Barra to be part of his Strategic and Policy Forum that will advise him on economic and trade issues.
Trump included Barra in the group composed of “some of America’s most highly respected and successful business leaders” that “is designed to provide direct input to the president from many of the best and brightest in the business world in a frank, non-bureaucratic and non-partisan manner,” according to Trump officials.
Barra accepted the appointment with her usual grace.
“I’m pleased to join President-elect Donald J. Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum because it offers us a seat at an important table where we can contribute to a constructive and open dialogue about key policy issues,” she said in a statement.
(GM’s Barra almost got a much bigger promotion: U.S. vice president. For more, Click Here.)
“We look forward to working with President-elect Trump, his team and other corporate and civic leaders on policies that support a strong and competitive economy and automotive industry.”
Her appointment confirms how highly she is thought of by the powerbrokers and politicians in the nation’s capital. During the presidential campaign, she was on a list of potential running mates for Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Barra, who has never publicly espoused any political aspirations, was listed among 39 potential candidates for the job, according to a hacked email released by WikiLeaks.
In a list broken down by adviser John Podesta into what he labeled as “food groups,” Barra found herself mentioned with several other top executives, including: Michael Bloomberg, chairman of the news group that bears his name and former mayor of New York City; Microsoft Founder Bill Gates, as well as his wife, Melissa; Apple CEO Tim Cook; Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz; and several others.
With the appointment of Wilbur Ross as the Secretary of Commerce, Trump is getting some representation from the automotive industry. Although Barra is the only current auto executive on the committee.
The forum will be chaired by Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder of Blackstone.
Other members of the panel include:
- Paul Atkins, CEO, Patomak Global Partners, LLC, former commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission
- Toby Cosgrove, CEO, Cleveland Clinic
- Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
- Larry Fink, chairman and CEO, BlackRock
- Bob Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company
- Rich Lesser, president and CEO, Boston Consulting Group
- Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
- Jim McNerney, former chairman, president, and CEO, Boeing
- Adebayo “Bayo” Ogunlesi, chairman and managing partner, Global Infrastructure Partners
- Ginni Rometty, chairman, president, and CEO, IBM
- Kevin Warsh, Shepard Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Economics, Hoover Institute, Former Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
- Mark Weinberger, global chairman and CEO, EY
- Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO, General Electric
- Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize-winner, vice chairman of IHS Markit
Notably absent on the list: Ford CEO Mark Fields. Trump and Ford Motor Co. executives have clashed for much of the year about Trump’s erroneous tweets and other statements regarding the automaker’s manufacturing plans calling for small car production to move to Mexico, where labor costs are lower, while adding or increasing production of more profitable trucks, sport utilities and crossovers in North America.
(Click Here for details about Ford CEO Mark Fields warning about the impact of Trump’s proposed trade policies.)
At one point during his campaign, Trump threatened to slap a 35% tariff on vehicles built in Mexico and then shipped to the U.S. by Ford. After a short period of calm and friendliness by the two sides, Trump again floated the idea of a tariff on vehicles produced in Mexico.
Ford CEO Fields used his keynote speech during the Los Angeles International Auto Show last month to send a message that aggressive anti-trade moves would be risky, telling reporters and industry officials that, “A tariff like that (Trump has proposed) could have a huge impact on the U.S. economy.”
Fields tried to soften the tone of his comments, adding that there have been meetings with the transition team, and that, “we look forward to working with a new administration and the entire newly elected Congress.”
Trump’s transition team noted “members of the Forum will be charged with providing their individual views to the president — informed by their unique vantage points in the private sector — on how government policy impacts economic growth, job creation and productivity.”
(To see what auto industry issues will be high on the next President’s agenda, Click Here.)
The first meeting of the forum will be held at the White House during the first week of February, according to the President-elect’s transition team.