General Motors CEO Dan Akerson has been quoted as saying Mary Barra is on the list of his potential successors. Akerson has been adamant about the fact that the next head honcho for General Motors should come from within the automaker's ranks. Reuters reports the executive believes it is crucial for GM to increase the number of female top executives in the company, and he believes that women handle change better than men.
Barra, 50, currently serves as GM's global product development chief, commanding a $15 billion operation. She first joined GM in 1980 and has served in a variety of capacities since then, including vice president in charge of global human resources. Even with his comments on Barra, Akerson stressed that at the end of the day, it's the GM board's job to pick his successor.

And what of the U.S. Treasury? Technically, the government owns a little more than a quarter of GM stock, but Akerson said the decision remains entirely in the hands of the company's decision makers. Other candidates for the position are said to include Mark Reuss, GM's North American operations boss and Steve Girsky, vice chairman.


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  • 27 Comments
      Jerry
      • 2 Years Ago
      Mark Ruess is the guy they should pick. He knows cars, cares about quality, and encourages innovation. He would be very Lutzish if we were on top. Marry Barra is not the best pick for the spot if they go internally.
      Graham
      • 2 Years Ago
      Perhaps it is because I worked in NYC publishing for many years, but isn't this 2012? In NY well over 65% of editors, publishers, publicists, artists etc were women. In fact in some categories, novels for instance, the vast majority of product was provided by women. In early 2011, the woman in charge of worldwide GM product development met with designers and engineers who were still complaining about GM'S SLUGGISH, RESISTANT TO CHANGE, TERRITORIAL, AND UNRESPONSIVE BUREAUCRACY. Who cares who gets the job done? Southeast Michigan, GM and Michigan in general have a long way to go in changing their prejudices and attitudes towards work. Unlike Justice Ruth Ginsberg of the Supreme Court, most Americans know that things have changed dramatically in 50 years and that we don't need an Equal Rights Amendment and that "First This" and "First That" has become redundant and boring. This country has barely begun to dig itself out from 2008. If Ms. Barra can get things done, great. But her sex has nothing to do with it. The whole conversation is a bore.
      Graham
      • 2 Years Ago
      Perhaps it's because I worked in NY publishing for many years where women make up most the editors, publicists, marketers, artists etc (and most novels are written by women), but isn't this 2012? I do recall that in 2011, the womAn in charge of worldwide product development at GM was meeting with designers and engineers who WERE STILL COMPLAINING ABOUT GM'S SLUGGISH, NEANDERTHAL, AND TERRITORIAL BUEAUCRACY. She had and apparently still has her hands full. Who cares who gets the job done as along as it gets done. And I can tell you that here in Southeast Michigan the old attitudes and biases remain. GM has along way to go. For that matter, so does Michigan... Then again, we a woman on the Supreme Court -- Justice Ginsberg -- who still wants to pass ERA and thinks the American Constitution is no example for anything constitutional. Don't statistics and demographics mean anything? TH INGS HAVE CHANGED.
      New Shel
      • 2 Years Ago
      This will make the conservatives' heads explode.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @New Shel
        [blocked]
      john
      • 2 Years Ago
      How many more shots in the foot can GM handle.
      keet
      • 2 Years Ago
      the best PERSON for the job should get it, regardless of race, or sex. BUT, she obviously has made some friends along the way, how the hell someone goes from working in HR to being product development chief is beyond me?!?
        Rob
        • 2 Years Ago
        @keet
        First, Ms. Barra graduated from Kettering University with a degree in ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING. Prior to the HR gig, she was Vice President of Global Manufacturing Engineering. She has held many ENGINEERING positions since starting in 1980. Do some research before getting in a frenzy about "someone from HR" taking the helms of GM.
          keet
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rob
          first, my comment was about her going from HR to product developement, not CEO. Second, how many years have Ed Welburn, Bob Lutz, Chuck Jordan, and so on spent working in HR???
        keet
        • 2 Years Ago
        @keet
        "Competence"? "a damn fine executive"? ...riiiight, this is GM we're talking about, you remember, the company that went bankrupt, do you remember that?
          OptimusPrimeRib
          • 2 Years Ago
          @keet
          Usually things that are almost on the brink of dying off come back a lot stronger. Look at Japan, Germany, Chicago....well Chicago is not a good example but you get my point.
        throwback
        • 2 Years Ago
        @keet
        Well she does have 32 years at the company so my guess is she has had several different roles. How she does as the product head will probably determine if she gets to sit in the big chair.
        keet
        • 2 Years Ago
        @keet
        i'm not suggesting she's done anything untoward, i'm just saying that i don’t think she's the best person for the job.
        GFB
        • 2 Years Ago
        @keet
        You do that by being a damn fine executive!
          Jerry
          • 2 Years Ago
          @GFB
          Or by knowing the right people and kissing @ss the whole way up the ladder.
      IBx27
      • 2 Years Ago
      Now is not the time for diversity for the sake of it, and I wouldn't trust anybody that akerson recommends. He's an arrogant, blind, moron.
        tylermars.design
        • 2 Years Ago
        @IBx27
        oh you know him?
          IBx27
          • 2 Years Ago
          @tylermars.design
          Look at everything he does. The way he's managed GM, with rapidly decreasing quality and jabs at Ford and Lincoln while his own company can't hold a candle to their success, he's bringing them right back to 2008. Whitacre was a much better CEO and gave GM a promising future, then this guy got mandated into that position and he's screwing it all up.
      stclair5211
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not butch enough. All women in power now - Napolitano, Kagan, etc take testosterone. It's true. Sorry. What we need is a trans queer Mexican African American indian. That would be "fair." Screw qualifications.
      50 AKA Ferrari
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't even understand why this is even an article. Whomever is the most qualified or liked by the board regardless of gender should get the job. End of story. Lets just hope whoever gets it doesn't screw up GM.
      sloturbo
      • 2 Years Ago
      She started to work for GM in 1980, when she was 18 and has been there for 32 years. The CEOs I've worked under that have had that much time with one company, are usually not the best for the job. An outsider can help challenge the company's "this is the way we have always done it" mentality.
        Jerry
        • 2 Years Ago
        @sloturbo
        Not to mention she spent more than half that time as HR director. GM needs an engineer up top.
          clquake
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Jerry
          She's an electrical engineer.
      Toneron
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think the government agreement mandates that.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
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