GM = Good moves: exits and entrances

December 10, 2013

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In a good move that followed closely in the wake of the U.S. Treasury's announcement on Monday that it had exited its last vestiges of ownership of General Motors, the automaker promoted development, purchasing, and supply chain EVP Mary Barra to the CEO position. She will be the first female CEO of a global automaker.

In her 33 years of experience at GM, Barra has held manufacturing, engineering, and senior staff positions and is one of the first automaker CEOs in recent history to rise from its own ranks. Barra has been vice president of global manufacturing engineering, head of GM’s Detroit Hamtramck Assembly plant, and executive director of competitive operations engineering, and the company’s human resources executive.

Heading up GM’s $15 billion vehicle development operations, Barra was able to contribute significantly to the company’s success with popular brands such as the Chevrolet Impala and the Cadillac CTS.

Leaving GM in Upright Position

Current GM CEO Dan Akerson will take an early leave starting in January, coinciding with his wife’s diagnosis of an advanced stage of cancer. “I will leave with great satisfaction in what we have accomplished, great optimism over what is ahead, and great pride we are restoring General Motors as America’s standard bearer in the global auto industry,” said Akerson, according to a Dec. 10 autonews.com article.

Indeed. General Motors posted $152 billion in global revenues in 2012. GM stock price has risen 42 percent in 2013 and went up to a record high of $40.9 on Monday, and the automaker is back in as the largest automaker in the world.
Regarding the “bailout,” unfortunately, U.S. taxpayers did not get reimbursed for the entire loan amount. There remains a $10.5 billion loss on the $49.5 billion loan,” Simon Warburton, autonews.com, reported in a Dec. 10 article. On the upside, the automaker’s save saved 1.2 million jobs in 2009, and preserved $39.4 billion in personal and social insurance tax collections in 2009 and 2010 according to a Center for Automotive Research study.

Whatever the circumstances, that the U.S. government no longer owns GM stock, that the stock and profits are up, and that the infamous “Good Ol’ Boys Club” has evolved and progressed to the point of putting a woman in charge are very promising indicators for continued success for the automaker.

“With an amazing portfolio of cars and trucks and the strongest financial performance in our recent history, this is an exciting time at today's GM,” Barra said.

With a woman as CEO, maybe autos will finally be designed to accommodate purses.


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Kate Bachman

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