Former purchasing leader named world’s most powerful businesswoman

Paul Snell is managing editor at Supply Management
11 September 2015

Mary Barra, the one-time executive vice president for global product development and purchasing and supply chain at General Motors, has been named the most powerful woman in business by Fortune magazine.

Having placed second on the list last year, Barra has taken the top spot from IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, who has dropped to third place behind PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi.

Barra, who took over as CEO of the automotive company in January 2014, joined the firm in 1980 as a GM institute co-op student at the Pontiac motor division, and has also led the company’s HR and manufacturing operations, and held positions in engineering.

The magazine wrote: “In her second year as head of the nation’s largest auto-maker, Barra has led the $156-billion-in-sales company out from under the shadow of its 2014 ignition-switch recall.

“Barra spent $2.9 billion on recalls, which dropped 2014 profits 26 per cent. Yet in recent months she has beaten back headwinds from weak international markets, as sales of expensive trucks and SUVs have soared.”

In 2010 Former Siemens’ head of supply chain management Barbara Kux was ranked fourth in Fortune’s global women in business ranking.

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