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General Motors CEO named on most powerful women list

By Anna Kantilaftas, 09 Jun 2016 Car News

GM CEO Mary Barra

It’s always nice to see women succeeding in the male-dominated automotive industry, with two women – General Motor’s Mary Barra and Great Wall’s Madam Wang – featuring on the Forbes World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list.

General Motors CEO and Chairman Mary Barra has been named in the top five most influential women in the world for 2016 by Forbes magazine.

Listed as the fifth most influential woman for the second year in a row, Barra sits ahead of well-known names like Oprah Winfrey, Anna Wintour and Queen Elizabeth II.

In the annual refresh of their World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, Forbes reduced the number of celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Taylor Swift, to make room for women in politics, which also led to an increase in a representation of more companies.

Great Wall Motor Company CEO Feng Ying Wang was the only other woman in automotive listed, sitting in 69th position.

Barra, who was named CEO of GM in January 2014 and elected Chairman of the Board of Directors two years later, started her career as an electrical engineering student at the General Motors Institute and a co-op student. Since then, she’s had a career spanning more than 35 years with the American automotive company, and has worked her way up through the ranks.

In her first year as CEO, General Motors suffered a major scandal when 2.6 million cars were recalled over faulty ignition switches which killed 124 people and caused more than 270 injuries.

Since then, Barra has led the US company to a strong growth period in the US, Europe and China. Despite the company’s overall market share dropping last year, GM achieved record breaking profit results.

This isn’t the first time Barra has been named on an influential people list. The US automotive CEO has appeared on Forbes’ list five times, and was also named on the publication’s Most Powerful People list in 2015 (65th). In 2014, Barra also made it onto Time’s 100 Most Influential People list and last year she was ranked first on Fortune Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business list.

In an industry dominated by men, it’s always nice to see women succeeding.