One measure of the change at General Motors resides in its choice of a new chief executive, a longtime veteran of the company, steeped in the culture of the automaker. Now that wouldn’t have happened four years ago, when a government task force and a communications executive brought the necessary distance to implement an aggressive recovery plan.
Oh, and did we mention the new chief executive is a woman, Mary Barra moving up from her position as the chief of product development?
The choice makes history, a woman coming to the front in an industry long a male bastion, starting with all that horsepower and muscular design. She joins a small group of women at the top of leading American companies. The hope is, the moment will accelerate the change, the country taking better advantage of its talent pool.
For Barra, the task hardly could be tougher. General Motors has returned to profitability. The government, which once owned 60 percent of the company, has sold its last shares. The automaker is leaner and quicker, sharper about smaller cars and with more attractive products.
What is left for Barra to do? She has the task of maintaining and building on the improvement. General Motors has regained its competitiveness. Now it has to keep its edge.