Barra Named General Motors' First Chairwoman

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole
barra named general motors first chairwoman

General Motors CEO Mary Barra will be the automaker’s first female chairwoman of their board of directors, the automaker said Monday.

Barra takes over for Tim Solso, who will remain on the board.

Barra took over as CEO two years ago and is GM’s first female CEO. When Barra took over as CEO in January 2014, the automaker split the role of CEO and chairman following Dan Akerson’s departure.

In a statement announcing the move, outgoing chairman Solso said merging the two made sense for the automaker.

“At a time of unprecedented industry change, the Board concluded it is in the best interests of the company to combine the roles of Chair and CEO in order to drive the most efficient execution of our plan and vision for the future,” Solso said in a statement. “With GM consistently delivering on its targets and on track to generate significant value for its shareholders, this is the right time for Mary to assume this role.”

In combining the two roles, investors could be more wary of GM’s ability to deliver to shareholders, according to the Wall Street Journal. About half of S&P 500 companies have separate CEO and chairman positions, according to the report.

Barra downplayed that risk in the statement announcing her hire:

“I am honored to serve as Chair of the Board of Directors. With the support of our Board, we will continue to drive shareholder value by improving our core business and leading in the transformation of personal mobility,” she said in the statement.

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11 of 68 comments
  • Callmeishmael Callmeishmael on Jan 04, 2016

    If GM can't turn itself around after being rescued from the precipice then it deserves whatever Sergio Marchionne does to it.

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    • Pch101 Pch101 on Jan 05, 2016

      @derekson GM has always been a marketing company, not an engineering company. GM met its match when Toyota innovated with lean production and GM couldn't figure out how to adopt it or do better.

  • Zackman Zackman on Jan 05, 2016

    Goodness, we're all experts, aren't we? Perhaps I'll apply for a position on GM's board when I retire next year, and this former folding carton designer will show them how to run a company! My first declaration will be to give the Impala three tail lights per side! That'll do it. 50% market share by year's end...

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    • VoGo VoGo on Jan 05, 2016

      @Lorenzo But the beancounters will source the window regulators from VW.

  • TomLU86 TomLU86 on Jan 05, 2016

    She (or her minions) carefully manages her pictures for max effect on target audience. If only GM tailored it's products to target markets as in a sporty, practical car (like a GTI) for the target market of people who like to drive good cars, but can live with a 4 or small 6 and don't need 400 hp...

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Jan 05, 2016

    I would like to see an Impala with three tail lights per side and have a grill that would be America's favorite outdoor grill (advertising slogan for the 69 Impala). As for the Chinese ownership it might not be a choice if GM goes through another bail out. Hopefully this will not happen again.