Wednesday, December 11, 2013
In Detroit, observers have long made a distinction when talking about CEOs of auto companies. There were "car guys" and "finance guys." Now, the distinction will have to include "car gals" with the announcement of General Motors new CEO. This is a PR coup for the company, but it is more than that. Mary Barra is an engineer who ran worldwide auto development for GM. She understands the inner workings of vehicles along with the skin, and she has been in a position of turning out cars that people want to buy. While it is too early to know what kind of CEO she will be, she brings the right tools to the job of developing and selling transportation. One wishes that several previous GM CEOs had been so equipped rather than coming from an accounting background. Barra is in an exposed position in a traditionally male-dominated industry. She will be watched closely, and she knows it. Here is a hope that she succeeds beyond everyone's expectations, including her own.