By on June 23, 2020


Ren Cen. GM

General Motors CEO Mary Barra has appointed a new board to address racism and discrimination that may be lurking within the company. The automaker has taken a vocal stance against racism following widespread protests spurred by the killing of George Floyd and wants to be clear as day that it’s committed to diversity and inclusion. While not the most novel of concepts, as there isn’t a single company taking the counter argument, GM believes it can become the least racist of them all, with a little work.

“The board will guide our work to improve diversity and inclusion in our company, with the ultimate aspiration of making GM the most inclusive company in the world,” Barra wrote Monday in an internal document scooped by Automotive News

GM recently set aside $10 million to support organizations that promote inclusion and racial justice, including a $1 million donation to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The board will help the company determine how best to spend the remaining funds.

According to the CEO, the advisory board will be tasked with supporting the words, deeds, and culture rooted in inclusion and racial justice while weeding out language and ideas that do not. The group will be comprised of eight members from GM and four individuals from outside the company. The latter group includes social justice advocate and CEO of the Skillman Foundation, Tonya Allen; CEO of Ignition Media Group and son of former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, Dennis Archer Jr.; chief people officer at GM subsidiary Cruise, Arden Hoffman; and CEO of Ingersoll Automotive, GM Minority Dealer Advisory Council member and chairman of the Buick-GMC dealer council, Todd Ingersoll.

Barra will head the board herself, backed by President Mark Reuss; CFO Dhivya Suryadevara; Kim Brycz (VP of HR); Craig Buchholz (VP of communications); Gerald Johnson (VP of manufacturing); Matt Tsien (chief technology officer); and Telva McGruder (Workplace Engineering and Operations Solutions/ex-President of GM’s African Ancestry Network).

The board was first mentioned when General Motors released a statement committing itself to anti-racism on Juneteenth. Other promises include the aforementioned donations and a vow to battle racism and all of its manifestations:

At General Motors, we recognize that the world — and our company — must evolve toward a more equitable future. Our company stands for more than just the products we build and sell. We stand for the dignity of people, justice, tolerance and inclusion. So, we will use our size, scale, and the collective voice of the entire GM team to stand up for these values.

“We have a lot of work to do as a board and as a company, but this is an encouraging start,” Barra said in her letter to staff. “Please continue the dialogue with one another and in your own social circles, because dialogue leads to understanding, and understanding leads to change. Together, we will do this.”

[Image: General Motors]

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17 Comments on “GM’s Barra to Head New Inclusion Advisory Board...”

  • avatar

    What a virtue signaling load of crap.

    Why not save the money and donate it to the 106+ people that were shot in Chicago over the weekend. At least then the effort would be genuine. Or is that addressing the problem a bit too directly?

    • 0 avatar

      If they were really serious about diversity and inclusion and addressing social injustice, they would commit to moving factories from China and Mexico into inner city neighborhoods in the U.S. Nike, another major virtue signaler, could do the same.

      Speaking of Chicago, here you go…

      Gee, I wonder what the real problem is?

  • avatar

    Jesus Christ, racism is just so in right now.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s always been “in”, it’s just not hiding anymore

    • 0 avatar

      A corporation’s job is to make money for its shareholders first and foremost and if a tiny portion of total revenue is sacrificed to maintain the business they will do unequivocally. If they don’t kowtow to whatever bullsh!t being pushed by the fake news they will be accosted, likely with violence. They do not care about the grave implications it may have for the nation.

      • 0 avatar

        28Cars, tell us more. Who are you saying threatened GM with violence? What grave consequences are you predicting? Sounds like conspiracy theory.

        All I see happening here is GM making a good-faith effort not to be clueless on the issue of race, while generating some positive PR. Nothing wrong with that.

      • 0 avatar

        If this is simple capitulation to an inflamed buying public then why were they doing the same damn thing for the past 30 years, during most of which time the war on white men was broadly unpopular?

        The mob isn’t driving this any more than they drove the national spasms over cross dressing or a handful of illegal immigrant kids. It’s just the opposite, the .1% with their 24/7 push of all things divisive are driving the mob.

  • avatar

    Whatever time these execs will spend on this effort should get time tracked to the marketing budget where it rightfully resides.

  • avatar

    I bet they won’t find any racism and discrimination lurking in the country. This is insane. Who exactly in 202 is NOT being included? Nothing but pandering to appease a small percentage of the population. And it’s not even being driven minorities. These companies are puppets to the leftist mobs.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Serious question: “Why are the terms ‘Negro’ and ‘colored people’ considered racist, but they are part of the names of two black-advocacy groups, specifically the UNCF and NAACP?

    Yes, I am white, but this feels like a game whose rules haven’t been explained.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Um, why wasn’t there a picture of this anti-racism board? Would the answer be too self-evident?

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I’m getting giddy just thinking about all of this and will shine my shoes and iron my shirt later. Start a company like JD Power to measure how racially sensitive a company is. To be totally inclusive, your company will also need to be graded on how sensitive it is to LGBTQ rights. My company can do that too, for a slightly larger fee. Name a bias, it will be quantified. OK, I won’t but someone will. This will become monetized

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    How about you focus on including better interiors and more quality in your cars and including less ugly in your trucks. That would be a solid way to put such a board to use.

  • avatar

    I know this is all the rage but it has been going on awhile.

    This diversity stuff isn’t without costs either.

    Know a guy who worked summer job for a law firm in Detroit. This was probably late 90s early 2000s. He was ultra low level basically driving documents around the Detroit area for this firm.

    While I probably could say the automaker name I won’t, but they were getting big on diversity and promoting Minorities to higher positions in the company. The law firm he worked for had been dealing with the auto industry for a couple decades.

    What He told me ended up happening is that people incapable of handling the higher level jobs were promoted to Too High of a level within the automaker for diversity reasons. When they then couldn’t handle the job they were let go or demoted…. which of course led to a big increase in discrimination lawsuits against the automaker.

    So while you can be 100% against discrimination, the downside is that these sort of work initiatives can very easily hurt both the employees that they’re trying to help as well as the company doing the diversity initiatives. Not to mention the product could very well suffer if you don’t put your best people in the correct positions, leading to recalls, quality issues, safety concerns etc.

    It may look good on Facebook but this stuff has very real consequences to careers, companies, finances, employees, consumers, and global competitiveness.

    Put the best people in the best position and forget about all this identity politics stuff and everyone will be better off, no matter what color/sex/ethnicity or any of the million other buckets people like to divide and put Americans into (or Canadians or anyone else). The right thing, and the American thing, is judging people by their talents and hard work and ability and not some silly trait they’re born with. This sorta stuff is toxic and tearing us apart and automakers are not immune to it.

  • avatar

    Yep, it’s been going on for quite some time now. One of Nasser’s pet causes at Ford back then was getting white guys out of management.

    Can you imagine Dongfeng declaring it a crisis that their company employed too many Chinese?

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