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GM CEO Mary Barra was not aware of faulty switches, says Dan Akerson

General Motors chief executive Mary Barra had no knowledge of the faulty ignition switches in its small cars linked to at least 13 deaths when she took the top post in January 2014, predecessor Dan Akerson has told Forbes. The report quoted Akerson as saying "of course not" after asked whether Barra "was thrown under the bus" by taking over the CEO role just before the carmaker issued the recall for 2.6 million small cars with defective ignition switch.

He noted that Barra has also said that by the time she knew of the problem, “she confronted it." Akerson announced his retirement in December 2013 and officially handed the role to Barra on Jan. 15, 2014. Barra remarked she and other GM executives only became aware of the issue on Jan. 31.

The carmaker has acknowledged that some workers already knew of the issue for more than a decade. Akerson told Forbes that Barra "didn’t know about" the issue. The ignition switch could shift out of the "run" position if shoved or weighed down by a heavy key chain.

Read the entire article GM CEO Mary Barra was not aware of faulty switches, says Dan Akerson

GM CEO Mary Barra met with House members to discuss recall probe

Mary Barra, chief executive of General Motors, has met with some members of the United States Congress in Washington to talk about the carmaker’s faulty ignition switch recall. One of those lawmakers was Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who chairs a subcommittee probing the carmaker’s handling of the faulty ignition switches and the recall.

McCaskill was responsible for asking some of the most pointed questions to Barra during her appearance before the panel in April. Barra’s visit to House members was first reported by The Detroit News. Barra also visited Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as other lawmakers weeks ago, The News reported.

House and Senate committees as well as the US Department of Justice and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, are probing why GM waited for over a decade before recalling cars with a faulty ignition switch that the carmaker has tied to 13 deaths.

Read the entire article GM CEO Mary Barra met with House members to discuss recall probe

Senate panel grills GM CEO Mary Barra and vows more hearings

Members of the Senate Commerce Committee's consumer protection panel has raised the possibility of a criminal prosecution and vowed to conduct more hearings over General Motors’ handling of its faulty ignition switch recall. The new hearings may invite former GM officials in charge during the years that vehicles with the defective ignition switch were not recalled – until February 2014.

Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., said, said the panel needs to hear from people who had held key GM posts who may have knowledge of defects. GM chief executive Mary Barra endured a scolding at the Capitol Hill and vowed to return with answers once GM wraps up its own investigation. Panel members were frustrated over Barra’s inability to answer even questions pertinent to documents that GM itself submitted over to lawmakers.

At one point during the hearing, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., told Barra: “You don't know anything about anything!” Sen. Claire McCaskill accused earlier in the hearing a GM engineer of not telling the truth on his role in the 2006 redesign of the faulty ignition switch, saying that GM “chose to conceal, rather than disclose” the defect for over seven years.

Read the entire article Senate panel grills GM CEO Mary Barra and vows more hearings

GM stock decline is another issue Mary Barra has to deal with

The massive recalls that recently hit General Motors Co. are surely a source of headache for new chief executive Mary Barra. But it looks like she has other things to worry – a decline in GM’s stock. GM shares dropped almost 14 percent since Barra took over as CEO Jan. 15 through March 25, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has surged in the period.

Just after becoming the top executive at GM, Barra started recalling 1.6 million small cars over faulty ignition switches, which are linked to 12 deaths. Barra’s problems do not end with that, as she also to stop GM’s financial bleeding in Europe while handling currency fluctuations in South America. She also has to place barrier against Volkswagen AG in China while trying to overcome a slow start to 2014 sales in the United States.

Matt Stover, an analyst with Guggenheim Securities LLC, said in a telephone interview. Matt Stover, an analyst with Guggenheim Securities LLC, told Bloomberg in a telephone interview that the drop in GM’s stock has more to do with the fundamentals than the recalls.

Read the entire article GM stock decline is another issue Mary Barra has to deal with

General Motors chief executive Mary Barra is set to testify April 1 on the United States Congress about the carmaker’s handling of its current recall crisis, the US House Energy and Commerce Committee said. The hearing will occur about five weeks after GM recalled 1.6 million cars to replace faulty ignition switches which if shifted out of position could shut off the engine.

Barra will need to answer queries on why it took GM over a decade to order the repair. Her answers may have implications for GM's public image. The committee also invited David Friedman, acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to testify.

"Their testimony is critical to understanding what the company and NHTSA knew about the safety problems, when they knew it, and what was done about it,” Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said in a joint statement with Rep. Tim Murphy, chairman of the oversight subcommittee. “The problems originated long before Barra and Friedman took the helms of their respective organizations, but their actions and input now, as our investigation proceeds, will be essential to getting answers about what went wrong,” the statement said.

Read the entire article GM CEO Mary Barra to testify in Capitol Hill over recall crisis

General Motors chief executive Mary Barra will receive around $14.4 million in compensation for 2014, the carmaker said. Barra’s pay includes $1.6 million in salary, $2.8 million in short-term incentives and $10 million in long-term compensation. Barra’s $14.4 million pay will be larger than former CEO Dan Akerson received in 2012, pegged at $9 million.

GM has yet to disclose Akerson's compensation for 2013. There has been speculation on Barra's pay after GM said in January that a portion of her pay would total $4.4 million. At the time, GM did not announce Barra's long-term compensation since it is still subject to approval by GM stockholders in June. Since then, some commentators had questioned why a female CEO would receive a lower pay than her male predecessor.

GM said in a statement it now disclosed Barra’s total pay ahead of its proxy filing in April "to correct misperceptions created by comparisons that used only a portion of Barra's overall compensation." GM Chairman Tim Solso said in a statement that as a new CEO, Barra’s total compensation is in line “with her peer group and properly weighted so that most is at-risk." He said that GM’s performance will ultimately determine how much Barra will be paid.

Read the entire article Mary Barra to receive $14.4 million in 2014 as GM CEO, more than Dan Akerson

While changes in the management at General Motors are understandable considering that it has a new chief executive in Mary Barra, there are concerns, especially among dealers, that top changes on the carmaker’s sales organization could affect sales. Barra recently said that GM is "riding a wave of new products" in North America as it seeks to boost profitability and market share.

But taking charge of that responsibility are sales and marketing executive teams made up of new people. Just last week, GM named Brian Sweeney as sales chief of Chevrolet replacing the retiring Don Johnson. Taking over Sweeney’s job a GMC-Buick sales chief is Duncan Aldred, who has been leading Vauxhall.

Both Sweeney and Aldred will report to new US sales boss Steve Hill, who was also recently promoted to a new role after Barra took over as CEO.

Read the entire article Mary Barra says GM is riding a wave of new products in North America

New General Motors chief executive Mary Barra will continue the path laid out by former CEO Dan Akerson.  During her first in-depth media briefing as CEO, Barra said that there will be "no right or left turns" from the course. She plans to "accelerate" GM's momentum by getting its regional operations on the same page; maintaining its strong balance sheet; and highlighting brand health over short-term gains in market share. "We're no longer just looking for viability," Barra said. "We're looking for growth and leadership in the operations that we have around the globe." Barra became a successor to a company that is thriving after almost three-and-a-half years of care under Akerson, who retired in January 2014 to take care of his sick wife.

Redesigned models like the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac CTS have won a number of accolades and GM's vehicle quality and customer satisfaction rankings leveled up.

GM also logged 15 profitable quarters in a row and recently reinstated a quarterly dividend. During the media briefing, Barra explained the thinking behind the new executive setup that GM outlined with her appointment in December.

Read the entire article Mary Barra to follow path paved by Dan Akerson

New General Motors chief executive Mary Barra will receive up to $4.4 million in cash and stock compensation this year, the carmaker disclosed in a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. However. GM’s compensation package for Barra does not include what she and other executives will receive under the carmaker’s long-term compensation plan that is subject to shareholder approval in June.

GM intends to reveal details of the long-term compensation plan in April. GM said in the SEC filing that Barra will receive an annual cash base salary of $1.6 million and will be eligible for $2.8 million under the carmaker’s short-term incentive plan.

In 2012, GM paid former CEO Dan Akerson $11.1 million, including $1.7 million in cash and $7.3 million in stock and other incentives. GM has yet to disclose Akerson’s compensation in 2011. Akerson’s 2012 compensarion figure also reflected $2 million in restricted stock units he received in 2011.

Read the entire article New GM CEO Mary Barra to be paid up to $4.4 million this year

For incoming chief executive Mary Barra, she is inheriting an “entirely new” General Motors that has recently managed to stave off the stigma of being owned by the United States government. Not only that, the current GM now boasts of an outstanding balance sheet, a clearer European strategy and a hit-making vehicle-development operation.

"This is a great company again," outgoing GM CEO Dan Akerson told Barra and her new executive team in a ceremonial passing of the baton last week. "Don't lose it."

For Barra, the first woman ever to lead a global carmaker, this means that she would have to do more than just keep the current GM from reverting to the old one.  In over three years of being GM’s top honcho, Akerson has been trying to disentangle the carmaker’s bureaucracy and revitalize its brands – something that Barra needs to continue.

Read the entire article Mary Barra inherits healthy General Motors from Dan Akerson

General Motors has chosen its next chief executive in the persona of Mary Barra – and its dealers love it. GM dealers praised the naming of Mary Barra as successor to current top honcho Dan Akerson. They also praised the appointment of Mark Reuss as chief of product development and Alan Batey as head of GM’s North American operations.

“They’re just three outstanding executives for GM,” said Steve Hurley, co-chairman of the Chevrolet dealer council. He remarked that for the three to be tapped for their positions is “very, very encouraging.” Dealers praised Barra’s work in leading GM product development, crediting her with the high quality of GM vehicles, which has increased competitiveness and boosted sales.

According to Hurley, while he knows Reuss and Batey better than Barra, the soon-to-be first woman CEO of GM and of any auto company impressed him when they met a few months ago. He said that she was “very grounded“ and has “a very realistic attitude.” Hurley credited Reuss for much of GM’s recent success in North America, adding that he would be suitable for his new role as GM’s product chief.

Read the entire article GM dealers praise appointment of Mary Barra as next CEO

GM officially announced today that Dan Akerson will step down as chairman and CEO on January 15, 2014. The big surprise is that he will be replaced by Mary Barra, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, was elected. Moreover, Barra will also join the General Motors board.

According to the official press release, Akerson, 65, pulled ahead his succession plan by several months after his wife was recently diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer. Thedore (Tim) Solso will succeed Akerson as Chairman.

“I will leave with great satisfaction in what we have accomplished, great optimism over what is ahead and great pride that we are restoring General Motors as America’s standard bearer in the global auto industry,” Akerson said in a message to employees. Barra has 33 years of experience at General Motors and she has risen through a series of manufacturing, engineering, and senior staff positions. “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,” said Barra. “I’m honored to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed.” Dan Ammann, 41, executive vice president and chief financial officer, was named company president and will assume responsibility for managing the company’s regional operations around the world. [source: GM]

Read the entire article Official: Mary Barra will be the new CEO of GM as Dan Akerson retires

When people talk about auto executives, they would probably think of men as the ones running the show. This is not entirely true for General Motors Co., which global product development department is headed by a woman, in the persona of 51-year old Mary Barra. Just over a month ago, GM chief executive Dan Akerson revealed that one of the possible candidates to succeed him on the highly coveted post is Barra.

While most GM executives sit on offices containing collection of model cars, Barra’s stronghold at GM’s headquarters in Detroit boasts of a non-model car toy – an Albert Einstein bobblehead.

Barra earned the bobblehead after winning a war-game contest among executives to see who could best attack GM. The 33-year GM veteran told Bloomberg that it was “about what strategy we were going to take." Asked by Bloomberg to share her secret to defeating GM, Barra just smiled and said, “I don't really want to tell you.”

Read the entire article Mary Barra: First Woman CEO at General Motors?

Mary Barra was named General Motors Corp.’s head of global product development, succeeding Tom Stephens, who was recently named GM’s global chief technology officer. The 49-year-old Barra is the first woman to hold the top product development job at GM. Since 2009, she has served as vice president of global human resources for GM – an important post as GM restructured and emerged from bankruptcy protection.

An engineer, Barra was also head of global manufacturing engineering for GM, manager of the automaker's Detroit Hamtramck assembly plant, and executive director of competitive operations engineering.

Barra will assume GM's product development efforts at a critical time. While sales of GM's four U.S. brands are sharply rebounding, GM’s lineup, particularly in the U.S. market, faces new challenges and product gaps over the next few years. GM CEO Dan Akerson said that Barra will bring a fresh perspective to the critically important job of “developing vehicles that delight global customers.”

Read the entire article GM tapped Mary Barra as its head of global product development