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Barra Brings Home Industry’s Fattest Paycheck

Breaking the glass ceiling paid big reward.

by on Apr.05, 2017

CEO Mary Barra.

The woman who broke Detroit’s glass ceiling is now the best-paid executive – male or female – in the domestic auto industry.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who became the maker’s chief executive officer in 2014 and later its chairman, earned $22.6 million last year. That was actually down $6 million compared to hear 2015 compensation, but still $500,000 more than what Ford CEO Mark Fields brought home, according to federal documents filed by the two carmakers.

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As for Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, he lagged well behind with compensation of “just” $11.99 million for the year. And while numbers haven’t been released for all the major foreign manufacturers, observers say it’s likely Barra will reign supreme across the industry, as U.S. automakers historically have offered significantly higher compensation than overseas competitors.


Barra Says GM Merger with FCA Unnecessary

CEO says company’s focused on shareholder returns.

by on Jun.09, 2015

General Motors CEO Mary Barra addresses the gathering during the 2015 annual meeting in Detroit.

No dice.

Those two words may best summarize General Motors response to Sergio Marchionne’s ongoing merger proposals, even as the Fiat Chrysler chief executive officer moves to enlist outside investors to support the proposed tie up between the two auto giants.

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Mary Barra, GM’s chief executive officer, confirmed publicly for the first time during GM’s annual shareholder meeting today that GM had received an email for Marchionne in which he proposed a merger. (more…)

Michigan to Become GM’s Global Electric Vehicle Center

CEO Barra to offer up some details of next Chevy Volt project.

by on Oct.28, 2014

GM CEO Mary Barra will meet with Detroit's business leaders and outline plans for Michigan.

(This story has been updated with additional comments by GM CEO Mary Barra.)

While GM isn’t expected to reveal its next-generation Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid until next January, the automaker’s CEO Mary Barra said today.

Among other things, the maker plans to invest $300 million in its home state of Michigan by year-end, a chunk of that cash going to set up the Warren Transmission Plant to produce the next-gen Volt’s plug-in drivetrain. Virtually all key powertrain components, from Volt’s batteries to its gasoline “range-extender” engine, will be built in Michigan going forward.

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“Our investments in the Chevy Volt and Michigan signify our commitment to lead the industry in technology and innovation,” CEO Barra told the Detroit Economic Club.

The remake of the Chevrolet Volt is scheduled to debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, marking the first major update to the so-called extended-range electric vehicle since it went on sale late in 2009.


GM Fires 15 Employees for Role in Recall

Terminations deemed incompetent or failed to be accountable.

by on Jun.05, 2014

GM CEO Mary Barra outlines the findings of the investigation of the automaker by former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas.

GM dismissed 15 employees and disciplined five others in the fallout from the controversy over the fallout from the faulty ignition switch used in small cars that have engulfed the company.

GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said that the employees are no longer with the company and included employees from several different departments.

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“For the most part they were on the senior level,” Barra said. (more…)

GM CEO Barra Makes “Time 100” List of World’s Most Influential People

“A trying first 100 days.”

by on Apr.24, 2014

A portrait of GM CEO Mary Barra from Time.

It was “a trying first 100 days” for General Motors CEO Mary Barra, writes one influential automotive analyst, but perhaps it’s paying off. The daughter of a GM “shop rat” who worked her way up to the top from a starting job as a co-op student has been named to the annual “Time 100” list of the world’s most influential people.

The first woman to run a major automaker, Barra was appointed to her post late last year following the unexpectedly early retirement of her predecessor, Dan Akerson.  The appointment generated a wave of positive headlines, even a tweet from the likes of celebrity singer Bette Midler.


But while Barra got off to a seemingly strong start – two GM models sweeping the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards in early January – she was quickly caught up in one of the worst scandals GM has suffered in years, the inexplicably delayed recall of 2.6 million vehicles equipped with faulty ignition switches.

Yet, unlike some top executives who try to stay out of the spotlight, Barra quickly put herself directly under it, repeatedly apologizing for GM’s mistakes and making it clear the buck stopped at her desk on the top floor of the maker’s Renaissance Center headquarters along the Detroit River.


GM Changed Ignition Part Without Telling Drivers, Regulators

Lawsuit uncovers modification aimed at quietly eliminating problem.

by on Mar.25, 2014

A lawsuit filed by the family of a woman who was killed driving one of GM's recalled vehicle discovered the automaker changed the ignition without telling owners or federal regulators.

General Motors knew about a defect in its ignition switches eight years ago and changed the design of an internal part, but never told federal regulators or the drivers of its cars, according to evidence from a recent lawsuit filed by the parents of a Georgia woman who died in a 2010 GM car crash.

In February, the automaker recalled 1.6 million vehicles, saying their ignition switches could be accidentally turned from “on” to the “accessory” position while the car was being driven, shutting down the car’s power brakes, power steering and airbags. GM’s own figures have linked ignition problems to a dozen deaths.

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But evidence from a lawsuit filed by the parents of Brooke Melton, whose Chevy Cobalt spun out of control after shutting off on her 29th birthday, shows that in 2006 GM altered two internal pieces of its ignition switches in a way that would make it less likely for the ignition to shut off accidentally – and made the change without alerting the government or the owners of the cars affected. (more…)

Barra’s Compensation Not Bare Bones: $14.4 million

Total is 60% more than Akerson’s 2013 package.

by on Feb.10, 2014

GM's new CEO Mary Barra will earn more than Dan Akerson, her predecessor.

Any of the handwringing over whether or not General Motors CEO Mary Barra is getting equal pay for equal work was put to rest today: she’s not, she’s getting more.

GM revealed that her compensation for Barra will be about $14.4 million, which is 60% higher than what her predecessor, Dan Akerson, received in 2013. The maker released the information early – two months of ahead of scheduled – to deflect criticism leveled at the company that it was not paying her what they paid Akerson.

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“The company released the full figures … to correct misperceptions created by comparisons that used only a portion of Barra’s overall compensation,” GM said in a statement. (more…)

GM’s New CEO Sees Turnaround in Europe

China, meanwhile, provides “great opportunities.”

by on Jan.24, 2014

New GM CEO Barra said she expects the company's European unit to be profitable by mid-decade, but said there is no firm deadline for that to happen.

The massive losses racked up over the last 16 years in Europe pose one of the toughest challenges handed over to GM’s new CEO Mary Barra.

But while the new chief executive officer says she has no hard and fast deadline for completing the turnaround of GM Europe and its principal subsidiary, Adam Opel AG, she is optimistic the worst is over.

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“We said we expect GM Europe to be profitable by mid-decade,” the 52-year-old Barra told reporters during a meeting at the company’s headquarters in Detroit’s towering Renaissance Center. “Obviously it’s important to operate profitably everywhere we operate,” she said. (more…)

New GM CEO Barra Focused on Pleasing Buyers

Strong balance sheet helps with investment, innovation.

by on Jan.23, 2014

GM's new CEO Mary Barra says the automaker must focus on giving customers innovative vehicles.

General Motors must focus on satisfying customers with great products, while making sure the company’s various regions and brands are sharing best practices and working towards uniform goals and objectives, GM’s new chief executive officer said Thursday.

“To me, what’s important is we’re focused on the product,” Mary Barra, GM’s new chief executive, said during a meeting with reporters at the company’s Detroit headquarters.

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“I believe General Motors is an iconic company. People recognize the role that it plays. But at the end of the day, I don’t expect to get any free passes. It will depend on the strength of products and our brands. Public opinion is a bunch of individual opinions,” said Barra, who stressed the need for GM to deliver top-notch products throughout the meeting. (more…)

Akerson Retiring, Barra Becomes New GM CEO, with Ammann President

51-year-old Barra is industry’s first woman chief executive.

by on Dec.10, 2013

GM names Barra its new CEO - and the first woman to lead a global automaker.

Just a day after the federal government ended its ownership stake in the post-bankruptcy General Motors, the automaker has announced a sweeping change in its management line-up.  That includes the retirement of Chairman and Chief Executive Dan Akerson, with Mary Barra taking his place as CEO of January 15, 2014.

The well-respected Barra, currently GM’s global product development czar, will become the first woman to serve as the chief executive officer of any major auto manufacturer in the world.

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Her new second-in-command will be Dan Ammann, a New Zealand native who signed on as GM chief financial officer after assisting the maker through its 2009 bankruptcy.

“I will leave with great satisfaction in what we have accomplished, great optimism over what is ahead and great pride that we are restoring General Motors as America’s standard bearer in the global auto industry,”  Akerson said in a message to the maker’s 85,500 employees.