General Motors’ global product chief Mary Barra increasingly looks like a candidate to replace CEO Dan Akerson when he retires, now that the automaker’s purchasing operations have also been brought under her supervision.
The move was made in early August, with no announcement, but the Automotive News has reported that GM purchasing head Grace Lieblein now reports to Barra, not vice chairman Steve Girsky, as she had been doing. The consolidation of oversight of product planning and purchasing is hoped to reduce conflicts between engineers and purchasers.
The news comes just a few days after Barra told Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women Summit that her directive to GM’s designers and engineers is simple, “No more crappy cars”, with “no excuses”.She said that she told GM employees that if GM is going to compete in a market segment, they’ll be competing to win. “I think there was sometimes so many boundaries put on them [employees] that we didn’t give them a recipe for success. So now were saying no excuses, if its budget, if its resources, we have to do great cars, trucks and crossovers and it’s our job to enable you to do that,” she continued.“The simple thing I said was no more crappy cars.”