timberland id Barra lands on Time cover and back in the spotlight
After months of blistering criticism, lampoons and scrutiny of General Motors, CEO Mary Barra is venturing back into the media spotlight after an initial rush of positive publicity early this year when she became the first female CEO of a major automaker.
Barra made appearances in New York this week, and today she is the subject of Time magazine 4,200 word cover story. GM said that with new products and technologies coming out, they have a lot of stories to tell.
In her first public appearance outside Detroit since testifying before Congress in July, Barra sat among Chelsea Clinton and Jack Ma, Alibaba Group Holdings chairman and founder, in New York City on a panel hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative, a nonprofit run by Bill Clinton. GM Executive Vice President Mark Reuss called on her way home from work. He said it was a significant problem and the automaker would have to make many recalls.
‘It was a blur’
then I literally can remember [what happened next], because there was a period of probably 30 days where I don want to say it was a blur but things were happening so quickly as we started to look through what we needed to do, Barra told Time.
She said the day she read Anton Valukas report was one of the saddest of her career.
most frightening part to me was that [the report] said everything that everyone criticized us about over the years. GM has already implemented about 90 percent of the recommendations from the Valukas report, restructuring operations to prioritize safety and creating a more open environment for employees to discuss issues.
But the automaker will need to undergo a culture shift, Barra told Time. The Valukas report claimed that single person owned any decision. didn have world class processes, Barra told the magazine. then again, we also didn have world class behaviors of pick up the phone, make sure something done. Legendary investor Warren Buffett last week told a Detroit audience that he thinks GM is a strong company, especially since Barra appointment as CEO. He upgraded his 2006 Cadillac to a 2014 Cadillac XTS after a meeting with her.
is a real car guy, Buffett said. was enormously impressed with her. has been a guy,
or at least engineering minded, since she was young, Time said.
When she was a girl and her curling iron broke, she took it to her father basement workshop and disassembled it.
might not get it back together, but we try to understand how it worked, she told Time.
She took her curiosity for machines to General Motors Institute before eventually taking engineering, human resources and executive positions at GM.
About those Manolos
Time called Barra but practical. When asked about the pricey Manolo Blahnik shoes she was wearing, Barra said, I have a shoe thing. on the factory floor, she slipped on some “sensible” pumps instead, the magazine said. When Time tried to verify Barra Manolo shoe brand (a web search shows they can retail from $595 to $1,295 per pair) GM said, is a very private person and requested that you don name the brand of her shoes. isn one for domestic life, she told Time. Her daughter sometimes cooks, and the family does not have a housekeeper.
But in a professional environment, it Barra job to take the lead.
GM ex Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said Barra wasn confrontational, but he thinks her engineering background is valuable to GM.
always been on the side of the company that actually makes things, Lutz told Time.
that a good sign, because those people are way more grounded in the reality of what goes on as opposed to the financial folks who float at the top and delegate everything. We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and argue their points. We expect disagreement. We do not expect our readers to turn on each other. If we see repeated behavior,
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