Congratulations to Mary Barra, the new CEO at GM.
While everyone talks about the first female leader in a male dominated industry, the other milestone is she reflects the ascendancy of engineers and technicians in auto world. The car, more than ever before, is a technological marvel with autonomous, electrical fuel, steering by wire, heads up and haptic UI. It is a world where Ford thrives on analytics.
Her electrical engineering education and supply chain and product development experience prepares her well for this new world.
This simple quote from her a few weeks ago summarizes the new world of software and sensors that defines a car: "It's the person who programs the Sonic windshield wiper who says, 'Hmm, why don't I turn this on when the rain sensor for the windshield senses it's raining, when the person puts it in reverse?'"
GM’s other executives reflect the new world. New CIO Randy Mott has been insourcing more as the company beefs up its technology talent. Bob Lutz, the recent CEO summarized the focus back to engineering in his book “Car Guys v Bean Counters”
It is a fiercely competitive industry and GM continues to have an image problem as making boxy, unsexy cars. Just don’t tell Automotive Magazine which named the 2014 Corvette the latest in its annual selections which last year honored the Tesla Model S.
Ms Barra has a strong base to build on!