By John Gallagher
Detroit Free Press.
Fortune Magazine is out with its annual list of the most powerful women in American business and General Motors’ Mary Barra rises to number 2 on the list, up 27 places from last year.
Barra, GM’s CEO since January, ranks second only to IBM’s Ginni Rometty, the tech company’s chairman, president, and CEO.
Barra became the auto industry’s first female CEO in January and soon faced the crisis of GM’s largest vehicle recall ever (29 million vehicles so far) from a faulty ignition switch linked to at least 13 deaths since 2005.
In an interview with Fortune, Barra said, “I don’t want to set it aside and explain it away. Because I think it uncovered some things in the company that it’s critical we challenge ourselves to change and to fix.”
She adds, “We didn’t have to work too hard to make the case for change because clearly it was deeply troubling. Anytime you want to drive change, you have to have a catalyst for change, and it did provide that. I will also tell you it’s made me more impatient.”
Fortune quotes investment guru Warren Buffett on Barra: “Mary is as strong as they come. She is the person to have there. She is as good as I’ve seen.”