Mary Barra has been CEO of GM for less than a month, but she's already receiving major accolades. Barra took the top spot in Fortune magazine's first list of the 50 Global Most Powerful Women in Business, ahead of Ginni Rometty, the chairman and CEO of IBM, in second place and Indra Nooyi, the CEO of Pepsi, in third.

"Do every job you're in like you're going to do it for the rest of your life and demonstrate that ownership of it."

Barra has worked at GM for the last 33 years. At 18, she went to the General Motors Institute and started as an engineering intern at a Pontiac factory. In 1990, she got her MBA from Stanford, which propelled her to multiple executive rolls within the company. Before being appointed CEO, she was executive vice president of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain and was partially responsible for restructuring Opel to simplify its lineup with more global platforms.

Barra also sat down for an interview with Fortune where she talked about her plans for the automaker. "Our goal is to make General Motors the most valuable automotive company," she said. To do that, she wants to strengthen Cadillac and Chevrolet and continue to grow in China. In regards to Cadillac's future, she said: "We have the right products and the right portfolio, and we're committed to regaining our status as a true luxury brand."

​She predicts that the next generation of cars will continue to have improved fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions. Autonomous driving technology will also become more important, and buyers will want better, less distracting infotainment systems.

Barra says that she has never asked for a promotion or a raise in her entire time with GM. Her personal mantra is, "Do every job you're in like you're going to do it for the rest of your life and demonstrate that ownership of it." She believes that if you produce great results, then you will get noticed. Clearly, that has worked quite well for her.


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  • 45 Comments
      thedriveatfive
      • 10 Months Ago
      Its good the glass ceiling is a thing of the past. Time for equality for everyone.
        Ross
        • 10 Months Ago
        @thedriveatfive
        +Equality for equal performance
      John Hughan
      • 10 Months Ago
      She's held multiple executive "rolls"?? Seriously, Autoblog? Hire an editor!!! Or replace your current editor with one who can catch errors like this, because they occur in your articles with embarrassing frequency these days for a publication that purports to be professional.
      whofan
      • 10 Months Ago
      I hope all within GM get behind her so she drive forward in a positive way for the good of the company. I think the new Colorado will be a good move. They should also revisit the minivan. Their new fullsize truck could use a better design. The Chevrolet version is ugly.
      Mike J
      • 10 Months Ago
      Sadly GM is paying her less for the job
      knightrider_6
      • 10 Months Ago
      I know people posting misogynist comments below don't understand what "most powerful" means, and didn't bother to read the original article, so let me enlighten you a little bit "How we pick the Most Powerful Women To compile this first-ever global MPW ranking, the editors weighed many of the same factors historically used to measure executive power: the size and importance of the business, its health and direction, and the arc of the leader’s career."
      • 10 Months Ago
      [blocked]
      over9000
      • 10 Months Ago
      She's better at doing dishes and sweeping hardwood floors.
      ebonys57
      • 10 Months Ago
      her being a woman wont help Government Motors with their junk cars.from what i read she hasnt really done **** there or worked on anything big.
      Ducman69
      • 10 Months Ago
      "She predicts that the next generation of cars will continue to have improved fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions." Breathtakingly insightful. No Y-chromosome mortal could have figured that one out..... =|
      bootsnchaps60
      • 10 Months Ago
      I think praise should be held until she actually achieves something. If she helps things continue to muddle along with the parade of the rebadged clones then she may be gone in six months.
      Mike
      • 10 Months Ago
      If she wants to compete in China she needs to start competing with VW in China, she's about 5 years late to the game now, better get cracking. GM also needs to stop putting out garbage that only people in the middle of the USA buy. Ford is destroying GM for domestic cars and trucks. The Vette has a following but it's hardly a hot seller, again Ford killing it with the Mustang. Cadillac needs to up their game in the luxury market to compete with Audi, much less if they even attempt to compete with Bentley or Maserati for a 4 door luxury car with loads of power. She's got her work cut out for her. Best of luck, there are thousands of jobs depending on her making wise decisions. Hopefully she'll do right by GM and the employees of GM.
        Ross
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Mike
        Yep, Ford really destroying GM...especially that Lincoln brand.
          Mike
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Ross
          Yep, they are http://investorplace.com/2014/02/f-stock-vs-gm-stock-auto-stocks/#.UvchN0JdXLI
          gtv4rudy
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Ross
          Yep, Ross the two domestic luxury brands are the bottom feeders in that segment fighting it out so it's not making much of a difference really.
        Eta Carinae
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Mike
        Please.....ford wish they had something to compete with the vette let alone a Z06.....and you say cadillac has to catch up to audi ?! Lincoln has to catch up to cadillac and as for Maserati, the CTS matches the ghibli especially in Vsport let alone an all out V....alot of people are sleeping on GM buick and cadillac are about to come out with a alot of new products in the next 2 years....and a new volt 2.0 system...
          Mike
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Eta Carinae
          Yes, I said Cadillac has to catch up to Audi. Cadillac interior is on par with mid grade VW's.
      Car Guy
      • 10 Months Ago
      Ummmm, she's been in charge for what, a month? Certinaly premature to heap any awards on her. Kind of like 0bamas Nobel peace price after a month in office....
        Jeff's Vengeance
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Car Guy
        I agree.
        knightrider_6
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Car Guy
        She will accomplish more in a month than people like you will do in their lifetime
        J
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Car Guy
        > Ummmm, she's been in charge for what, a month? Well, you've been in charge of working your right hand for years, so I guess you've got her on longevity..
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