GM CEO Mary Barra climbed closer to the top of Fortune’s 100 Most Powerful Women list for 2023, reaching the number three position behind Karen Lynch, CEO of CVS Health, and Julie Sweet, chief executive of financial services firm Accenture.
Fortune cites several factors in the rise of Mary Barra to the top of its list, including soaring GM revenues last year and Barra’s focus on preparing for a robust transition to electric vehicles (EVs).
Mary Barra is credited with expanding GM’s market share, as well as overseeing a whopping 23 percent revenue increase during 2022. While the post-COVID rebound likely accounts for at least some of the year-over-year gains in 2022, Fitch Ratings recently upgraded GM’s credit rating from BBB- to BBB, indicating “good prospects for ongoing viability,” an improvement that occurred on Barra’s watch.
Continuing efforts to “lay the groundwork for making GM a leader in EVs” also helped Mary Barra win the number 3 slot in the 2023 Most Powerful Women rankings. Highlighted specifically as one of her major contributions was her “pragmatic” decision to cooperate with Tesla in making the latter’s NACS connector available for GM-brand EVs, leading to a decision to equip NACS inlets as standard on all on GM EVs from 2025 onward.
Barra sees the universal adoption of the NACS connector as a way to accelerate use of EVs among the general population, with Tesla charging stations usable by drivers of other automakers’ EVs as well. Additionally, GM and six other companies are planning the launch of a charging network offering both NACS and CCS connectors in 2024.
The General’s CEO was ranked fourth on Fortune’s list of powerful women last year, with Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser ahead of her in third place. In 2023, Jane Fraser has dropped back a rank to occupy the fourth-place slot Mary Barra held a year ago. Her EV initiatives and the $1 billion acquisition of robotaxi and autonomous vehicle company Cruise were hailed as being among Barra’s standout accomplishments in the 2022 ranking.
Mary Barra has been recognized by several other publications and organizations in recent years, including her July 2023 induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame. The Hall’s president described her as of the “trailblazing innovators and leaders who have left an impact globally on the automotive industry” at the induction ceremony.
Barra was also currently the third highest paid automotive CEO in 2022 at $34,106,824, which, though a comfortable sum, was down considerably from the $62,260,812 she raked in during 2021.