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How CEO Mary Barra Helped General Motors Retain Its Automotive Crown

General Motors has been a story of rising, falling, and rising again, but its current CEO may be exactly what it needs to stay at the top.

In 2019, General Motors (NYSE: GM) CEO Mary Barra was added to Barron’s lucrative ‘World’s Best CEOs’ list because of her ability to deliver to shareholders. What’s more, she was the only automotive CEO on the entire list.

So, in a traditionally male-dominated industry, how has Barra turned things around and revived GM’s powerhouse status? 

The (re)birth of a giant!

It is no small feat for Mary Barra to have become the first female CEO of a major automaker in an industry where women comprise less than 25% of the entire workforce.

While the automotive industry as a whole has been turned on its head by innovative companies such as Tesla, GM has actually grown under Barra’s forward-thinking leadership. Compare GM’s stock price growth with arch-rival Ford Motors since she stepped into the role back in January 2014:

  • General Motors:+33%
  • Ford Motors: -24% 

Barra didn’t inherit the thriving General Motors of the 1970s though. She inherited a post-Crash company that was saved from bankruptcy by a government bailout and was refusing to get with the times. However, with Barra’s vision and unique understanding of the industry, GM has been able to invest in an electric future as well as maintain its lofty reputation:

  • GM is the number one carmaker in the U.S. with over 16% market share. 
  • It still sold 6.83 million cars in 2020  — compared to 4.2 million by Ford and 500,000 by Tesla.
  • GM has plans for no less than 30 electric vehicles in the coming decade.
  • It will be investing $27 billion in EV production by 2025, with plans to eliminate emissions-producing autos by 2035. 

Barra’s masterful leadership is slowly turning an industry dinosaur into a global force in EVs and autonomous driving. By looking to the future, she may well have rescued General Motors’ legacy as America’s top automaker.

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MyWallSt operates a full disclosure policy. MyWallSt staff currently holds long positions in companies mentioned above. Read our full disclosure policy here

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