General Motors CEO Mary Barra has been ranked fourth on Fortune’s list of the most powerful women of 2022.
This places Barra among elite company with the likes of Karen Lynch, President and CEO of CVS Health; Julie Sweet, Chair and CEO of Accenture; and Jane Fraser, CEO of Citigroup. Only 51 businesswomen were named to the list, with six making their first appearance.
With Barra in the driver’s seat, GM has gone all in on electric vehicles and autonomous technology. GM’s next-gen electric cars are starting to hit the road, starting with the GMC Hummer EV Pickup, Cadillac Lyriq, and BrightDrop Zevo 600. These will be followed by a jubilee of future EVs, such as the Chevy Silverado EV, Blazer EV, Equinox EV, as well as many others from Chevy and from Buick, GMC, and Cadillac. The effort is part of a $35 billion investment to offer 30 electric vehicles by 2025.
In 2016, GM acquired self-driving startup Cruise Automation for $1 billion, turning it into a fully-integrated division simply called Cruise. Since then, unit has been developing an electric robotaxi and associated services. Back in March, GM acquired a stake earned by SoftBank, and invested another $1.4 billion to begin testing a robot taxi service on public city streets. However, the robotaxi service has yet to launch, and has missed all publicly-announced deadlines to launch.
This isn’t Barra’s first time appearing on Fortune’s list, as she was named the most powerful woman in the world three years in a row. She was praised in 2014 for her handling of the immense ignition-switch recall, which also happened to be her first year as CEO at GM. Under Barra’s watch, GM still posted a $1.1 billion net income that year. In 2015 she was commended for much of the same, including increasing revenue, setting record profits and making substantial investments into Lyft for future ride-sharing endeavors. In 2016, Barra completed her hat trick, with a nod towards her ability to change GM’s culture and shift public perception, which was long plagued by poor management and questionable quality, both of which led to the bankruptcy 2009.
More recently, Barra was listed to the Financial Times‘ 25 Most Influential Women of 2021, where she was praised by the aforementioned Jane Frasier as “a true icon of business”, that has “led GM through tremendous challenges and change” throughout her tenure as CEO. Barra was even named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People for 2021, with the publication applauding the pro-EV and diversity initiatives. GM was included on TIME Magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential Companies that year, as well.