Women serve as chief executives of many U.S. and overseas companies, with Marissa Mayer and Meg Whitman as two high-profile examples in Silicon Valley. But among the Detroit Three, the CEO's position has been an all-male fraternity. But according to a report from Automotive News and Bloomberg, the glass ceiling in Motown might be about to shatter.
Much as Mark Fields is viewed as the heir apparent to the CEO position at Ford, many are saying GM chief product officer Mary Barra is on the short list for the next CEO position at GM. Known for having a more reserved, analytical style and personality than some of the more flamboyant and colorful figures in the industry, Barra is reportedly held in high esteem by current GM CEO Dan Akerson, who appointed Barra to her current role in 2011. Her previously-held position in human resources did not exactly endear her to the "car guys" that worked under her. But despite her position in HR, Barra's background is engineering.
Among the goals Barra hopes to achieve is a massive consolidation in the number of worldwide GM platforms, which stood at 30 at the end of 2010. The goal is to reduce the number to 10, while still maintaining a distinct identity for the different brands and models sharing platforms. Simplification and streamlining is a big part of Barra's legacy and reputation, with her massive reduction in the length and complexity in the employee policy manual, and the allowance of employees wearing jeans under a simplified "dress appropriately" guideline instituted during her tenure as HR director.
Source: Automotive News (subscription required)