General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, MBA ’90, will deliver the 2016 graduation address at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) on June 11.
Barra was elected Chairman of the GM Board of Directors on January 4, 2016, and has served as CEO of GM since January 15, 2014. Under Barra’s leadership, GM is working to lead the transformation of personal mobility through advanced technologies such as connectivity, electrification and autonomous driving. Barra has also established a strategic direction based on putting the customer at the center of everything the company does, all around the world.
In addition to leading GM, Barra is also a member of the General Dynamics Board of Directors. She is also a member of the Stanford University Board of Trustees, the Stanford GSB Advisory Council and the Board of Trustees for the Detroit Country Day School.
“Mary’s commitment in skillfully guiding GM through challenges past and present exemplifies her strength in transformative leadership,” said Garth Saloner, the Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean at Stanford GSB. “Her accomplishments are inspiring, and I am pleased she will share her perspectives with our graduates on what it takes to adapt, lead and thrive in today’s global economy.”
Stanford GSB’s alumni speaker program at graduation was inaugurated in 2010 as a means to inspire graduates in their future careers.
Prior to being named CEO, Barra served as Executive Vice President, Global Product Development, Purchasing & Supply Chain, since August 2013, and as Senior Vice President, Global Product Development, since February 2011. In these roles, she was responsible for the design, engineering, program management and quality of GM vehicles around the world.
Previously, Barra served as GM Vice President, Global Human Resources; Vice President, Global Manufacturing Engineering; Plant Manager, Detroit Hamtramck Assembly; Executive Director of Competitive Operations Engineering; and in several engineering and staff positions.
In 1990, Barra graduated with a Master of Business Administration degree from Stanford GSB after receiving a GM fellowship in 1988. Barra began her career with GM in 1980 as a General Motors Institute (Kettering University) co-op student at the Pontiac Motor Division. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering in 1985.
In 2014, Barra and her husband, Tony, chaired the Detroit International Wine Auction, raising a record $2.4 million for scholarships and community arts programs through the College for Creative Studies. In 2012, they chaired the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute’s 30th annual dinner, which raised nearly $1.7 million for cancer research.
In 2015, Barra was ranked first on Fortune magazine’s list of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business.”