Mary Barra, General Motor’s global product chief and 33-year GM employee, has been named the first woman CEO of a major automaker. By all accounts, the auto and business world are heralding her appointment with great enthusiasm and expectation — not so much about her breaking another glass ceiling for women, but for her ability and vision for America’s iconic car brand.
Forbes ranked her 41 out of 100 in its Powerful Women in 2012.
With her new title and responsibilities it is likely her influence will skyrocket in 2014 and beyond. Barra takes over the leadership of GM at a critical time in its history. GM and other U.S. automakers comeback from the financial crash of 2007/08 the recession and auto bailouts.
It is interesting to note that women make up the majority of car-buying decisions. Women in America today are a force in politics and business without a doubt. Elections in many states have turned on the votes of women. So is it any wonder that women are taking the lead in these areas?
Barra faces numerous challenges and tests as she assumes the CEO chair. How she handles these challenges and in what priority she tackles them will mark her leadership.
Some of these challenges include GM’s current and future pension obligations to the UAW, the restructuring of GM Europe in light of billions lost in the last decade, what U.S. plants need to remain open, close, consolidate, etc.
The key decisions of course that will make or break an automaker is what does the buyer want and can they deliver it at a price and volume that turns to profit.
GM needs to concentrate on building quality cars and trucks that stand for safety, style, performance, efficiency, value, workmanship, innovation and pride.
I am confident that with Barra’s long history with GM and having moved up the ladder within it, she is perfectly situated to take GM to new heights. She knows what has worked in the past but more importantly what has not. She knows that competition is great and global.
GM has shown with models like the 2014 Impala, Corvette, and Silverado that it is more than ready to deliver cars and trucks the America people will buy in volume.
As a car enthusiast and admirer of the return and quality of the America car, I welcome Mary Barra’s promotion to the CEO of GM with great anticipation and wish her great success.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of politics and public policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.
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