GM Names First Woman Leader of Vehicle Development

Last week General Motors named its first woman leader of vehicle development. Mary Barra, who is currently vice president of global human resources, will step into the role of senior vice president of global product development, Barron’s reported.

In her new role, Barra will be responsible for design, engineering and vehicle quality of the automaker’s 11 global brands.

She began her career with GM back in 1980 as a General Motors Institute co-op student at the Pontiac Motor Division. In 1988, Barra received a GM fellowship to the Stanford Graduate School of Business and in 1990 graduated with an MBA, according to auto blog “Left Lane.”

Barra’s new role shows a woman who worked her way up in a company and broke a gender barrier to leadership. The Detroit Free Press quoted former Ford communications executive and author Anne Doyle on Barra’s promotion: ““It’s very significant for General Motors. We have a long, long, long way to go. A few isolated exceptions in these key positions is good, but it is not anywhere near where the industry needs to be.”

Barra added in the article that she hopes her appointment “reinforces that there are many great opportunities throughout the company.”

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