Yesterday, we reported that GM’s head of quality, Grace Lieblein, will retire at the end of December. According to GM, the retirement has been planned and Lieblien’s successor will be named at a later time. Given that the retirement is less than 15 days away, here are five interesting things about Ms. Lieblein’s commendable career at GM.
1. She Is Recognized In The Industry
In November, Lieblein was named to the Automotive News’ top 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry. She was also among Fortune’s 10 Most Powerful Women in Automotive in 2013.
2. She Is GM’s Highest-Ranking Hispanic Woman
Lieblein was raised in Los Angeles. Her father was from Cuba and her mother from Nicaragua. As such, she is GM’s highest-ranking Hispanic woman.
She was responsible for GM’s operations in Brazil and before that became the first woman to head GM Mexico, a position she held from 2009 to 2011.
3. Her Husband Is (Also) An Engineer
Like Ms. Lieblien herself, her husband, Tom, was a GM engineer. He also recently retired form the company.
4. She Was Chief Engineer Of GM’s Lambda CUVs
Lieblein was chief engineer on GM’s full-size crossovers on the Lambda platform, the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Saturn Outlook from 2004 to 2008. In an Automotive News interview, she reflected on the assignment being a turning point in her career, since it elevated her profile internally within GM and engaged her in the business side of vehicle development.
“I went from being somebody in engineering to somebody who got exposure to the broader base of leadership,” she said.
5. Her Success Was (Partly) Thanks To Not Being Afraid Of New Jobs
In the same interview with Auto News, Lieblein reflected that her willingness to take new jobs outside of her comfort zone helped her climb GM’s executive ladder.
“I have always been slightly hesitant when somebody wants to give me a new job. There’s always the voice in the back of your head saying, “You don’t have experience in that,” or “I’m not sure you can do that,’” she said. “I’ve had to get over that.”