Trailblazer: Mary Barra, General Motors Chair & CEO

"We have the ambition, the talent and the technology to create a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion” - Mary Barra, General Motors

 

Joining General Motors in 1980 at the age of 18, Mary Barra has dedicated more than 40 years of her career to the automotive manufacturer. Rising from her beginnings as a Kettering University Co-op Student at the Pontiac Motor Division, Barra is now the CEO of the Fortune 50 organisation, and is one of the 8% of female CEOs of Fortune 500 organisations.

Dedicated to improving situations, solving challenges, capitalising on opportunities, and improving people’s lives, Barra marked a major milestone in America’s history when she became the first female CEO in American automotive manufacturing. 

“As an engineer, I’ve always looked at how to improve situations and solve challenges. Engineers have the ability to imagine what’s next and then make it happen. At its very core, engineering improves people’s lives,” said Barra

“As Chairman and CEO of General Motors, I now have a unique opportunity – and responsibility – to use my engineering mindset to help make the world a better place on a much larger scale.”

A vision of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion

Barra is committed to creating a world with ‘zero crashes, to save lives; zero emissions, so future generations can inherit a healthier planet; and zero congestion, so customers get back a precious commodity - time.”

Barra is focused on improving customer experiences, strengthening General Motors’ core vehicle and services, and transforming personal mobility via advanced technologies.

“Our zero-emissions, all-electric future is underway right now, and we are moving faster than ever. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we quickly brought our manufacturing capability to bear to produce masks and ventilators. Yet we never lost a beat on our all-electric strategy,” said Barra.

Transformation and innovation have been at the heart of General Motors for more than 100 years. With this spirit inspiring the organisation to this day, the company is committed to not only driving its own transformation but leading and influencing others, setting the standards, “to take everybody on the journey to a safer, more equitable, all-electric future. We’ve changed the world before and we’re doing it again,” said Barra.

In June 2021, Barra announced that General Motors would be investing from 2020 through to 2025 US$35bn (up US$15bn pre-pandemic) to continue its momentum of building an all-electric future.

“We are making these investments so we can move faster and grow in ways that deliver value to our shareholders and our stakeholders. And while this reimagination of our business won’t happen overnight, we are working towards it every day – as one company, driven by our growth strategy,” said Barra.

Serving on General Motors inclusion advisory board

Committed to being the most inclusive company in the world, General Motors consistently scores highly when it comes to gender equity reports, being one of only two global businesses to have no gender pay gap in 2018.

“In every moment, we must decide what we can do – individually and collectively – to drive meaningful, deliberate change. Based on our longstanding values, our Chair and CEO Mary Barra chairs an Inclusion Advisory Board (IAB) of 11 internal and external leaders who guide our work to improve diversity and inclusion in our company,” stated General Motors.

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