When Mary Barra took the reigns at GM in January 2014 it was clear she’d have to contend with a vast workload: rejuvenating corporate culture, overhauling a slew of mid-grade product offerings and regaining consumer confidence were just the tip of the iceberg. Then the GM recall hit just three weeks after she took her post as CEO. And that sure didn’t help.
Now, after a year in the hot seat, the spotlight has begun to fade on the recall crisis which is said to contribute to the deaths of over 120 people, and Barra can better install her plan to shift GM from survivor to marketplace leader.
“We used to be a company of best efforts and there was a ‘dog at my homework excuse’ for not showing results,” said the CEO in an interview with Bloomberg. “I’m working hard to drive a can-do entrepreneurial spirit.”
While opinions of Barra remain mixed, she’s already committed to several ambitious plans like rebuilding the Cadillac dynasty and rejuvenating the long-struggling Opel brand with a slew of new products. Both goals will take years to fully realize.
It hasn’t been easy so far. Investors skeptical about GM’s corporate shift have pushed GM stock down 27 percent since the CEO took her post, even though she made it clear GM would now focus on chasing profits rather than sales like old GM.
Though profits in North America doubled to $5-billion this year, the slowdown in China has investors worried about GM’s plans in the softer playing field. The company’s current U.S. market share remains on par with last year’s at 17.7 percent.
“She’s in a no-win job,” Morningstar Inc. analyst Dave Whiston told the news outlet. “She’s CEO of a company people love to hate, but I still have it in our list of best investment ideas.”