30 Astonishing Facts We Bet You Didn't Know About Mary Barra


Mary Barra, the Chairman and CEO of General Motors Company, since the year 2014, is one among those CEOs who rose to the position from humble beginnings. In fact, he engineering legacy from the time she started out young at GM, will likely outlive any other legacy as a CEO. Here are some inspiring facts about the American CEO:

  1. She became the first female CEO of General Motors on January 15, 2014. She is the first female CEO of a major global automaker, making it the first in the male-dominant industry.
  2. Before taking up the helm as CEO, she served as the Executive Vice President of Global Product Development, Purchasing, and Supply Chain at General Motors.
  3. It was she who described a phenomenon known as the "GM Nod," when it is just an empty gesture, where everyone nods in agreement to a proposed plan of action, but leaves the room with no intention to follow through.
  4. She has been featured in the Forbes' list of Most Powerful Women since 2013, and was even ranked at #1 in the 2015 list.
  5. In April 2014, Barra was included on Time's "100 Most Influential People in the World," along with the coveted spot on the cover of Time Magazine, and an article describing her breaking gender barriers in the auto industry.
  6. In the year 2018, she was ranked at #4, only after Angela Merkel, Theresa May and Christine Lagarde. She was ranked at #2 in Fortune's Most Powerful Women list of the same year.
  7. She was born Mary Teresa Makela on December 24, 1961, in Royal Oak, Michigan to Finnish descendants - Reino @ Ray Makela and Eva Pyykkönen.
  8. Her father Ray, work for Pontiac car factory in Detroit, for nearly 40 years, as a dye maker. She has a brother Paul Makela, a renowned doctor serving as the Director of Gynecological Robotic Surgery in St. Mary Mercy Hospital.
  9. She did her schooling in Waterford Moot High School and then went on to study the General Motors Institute, which is now known as Kettering University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Kettering University.
  10. She attended Stanford Graduate School of Business on a GM fellowship, receiving her Masters in Business Administration degree in 1990.
  11. At the age 18, she started working in the automobile industry, checking fender panels and inspecting hoods to pay for her college tuition.
  12. In the year 1980, she started her career in General Motors as a co-op student, subsequently held a variety of engineering and administrative positions, including managing the Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly plant.
  13. She became the Vice President of Global Manufacturing Engineering in February 2008, and the very next year became the Vice President of Global Human Resources.
  14. In the very first year of her tenure as CEO, General Motors had to issue 84 safety recalls involving over 30 million cars, for which she had to testify before the Senate.
  15. This led to the altering of company culture with the creation of new policies in the company that encourages workers to report problems they encounter.
  16. She led the company's transitioning into the tech space or the automated driverless car space, by pushing forward the major acquisitions such as Strobe, a startup focused on driverless technology.
  17. In the year 2017, she pushed General Motors to develop the Chevy Bolt EV, beating rival Tesla in developing the first electric car priced under $40K with a range of 200 miles.
  18. She has a great passion for cars, and has a number of model cars on her work desk. Her first car was Chevette and named the Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird as her favorite cars.
  19. In November 2018, Barra announced the closure of five North American plants of the company along with the plans to lay off 14,000 workers. This decision was heavily criticized by President Donald Trump, who went to threaten about removing the company's government subsidies in response.
  20. It was during her tenure that General Motors made some very crucial decisions like pulling out of Australia, Indonesia and Russia, and stopping Chevrolet in Europe.
  21. She met Anthony E. Barra while attending the Kettering University. The couple tied the knot shortly after in 1985 and have two children Rachel and Nicholas. Her husband Tony Barra is an engineering consultant and is currently listed as Affiliate Partner at POCO Labs, LLC.
  22. The family currently resides in Northville, a suburb in Detroit. Her son Nicholas is reportedly a truck enthusiast, who often shares his new ideas for vehicles and their performance, with her.
  23. Once, she almost bought a Chevrolet Camaro, but dropped the idea at the very last minute as she felt it would be too much of a temptation to her teenage son.
  24. She along with her husband is active in charity works and they chaired the Detroit International Wine Auction in 2014. The duo are also known for community arts programs and scholarships worth $2.4 million through College for Creative Studies.
  25. Barra was a member of the General Dynamics Board of Directors, and serves as a member of The Business Council. She also sits on the Board of Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute.
  26. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Detroit Economic Club and the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council, as well as the Stanford University Board of Trustees.
  27. Barra received an honorary degree from the University of Michigan on May 3, 2014. She also delivered the Spring Commencement address for University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus at Michigan Stadium on the same day.
  28. In December 2016, she joined a business forum assembled by then President-Elect Donald Trump to provide strategic and policy advice on economic issues, but left the forum in 2017, following Trump's response to the Charlottesville protests.
  29. Barra was elected to the board of directors of the Walt Disney company, the world's largest independent media conglomerate. She is the 12th person to be elected to join the board, in the 96 years history of Disney. Barra was elected to the board of directors of the Walt Disney company, the world's largest independent media conglomerate. She is the 12th person to be elected to join the board, in the 96 years history of Disney.
  30. In the year 2016, she outpaced the other Auto CEOs, becoming the highest paid automobile CEO in America, with a total salary of $22.6 million.
  31. Mary Barra Net Worth: $37 Million

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