Yesterday’s Today Show interview with General Motors CEO Mary Barra started an Internet firestorm after Matt Lauer asked Barra if she was capable of being a good parent and CEO at the same time.
“Some people are speculating that you also got this job as a woman and as a mom, because people at General Motors knew this company was in for a very tough time — and that as a woman and a mom, you can present a softer face and softer image for this company as it goes through this horrible episode. Does it make sense or does it make you bristle? … Given the pressures at GM, can you do both well?”
Barra, without missing a beat, responded: “It’s absolutely not true. I believe I was selected for this job because of my qualifications, adding senior General Motors officials stepped up to the plate when they found out about the ignition switch issues.
Lauer later posted on his Facebook page to clarify his comments, stating that he merely asked the question after reading a Forbes article in which she talked about how she balances her work and home responsibilities. “If a man had publicly said something similar after accepting a high-level job, I would have asked him exactly the same thing.”
Detroit Free Press columnist Tom Walsh feels that “Lauer would have been better served by forgoing the CEO-mom line of questioning and probing instead about what GM plans to do about compensation for victims of people killed or injured in accidents related to the delayed recalls for defective parts.”