General Motors CEO Mary Barra will be the new chair of Business Roundtable the affiliation reported Wednesday, making her the first woman tapped to hold the best position. Her two-year term starts on Jan. 1.
The current chair of the lobbyist group representing many the biggest U.S. businesses is Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon, who succeeded JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon at the healm.
“Mary has a long track record of success and is a business leader who recognizes the strength of the multi-stakeholder approach to creating value, and I am thrilled to pass the baton to her,” McMillon said in a statement. “Her understanding of America’s workforce and vision for the future is the exact perspective the Roundtable needs as we continue to work with Congress and the Administration on public policies for tomorrow.”
Barra started her career at GM forty years prior as a co-op student in the Pontiac Motor Division. She became CEO of the automaker in January of 2014, exploring the organization that very year through a resulting recall scandal that had been years in the making.
From that point forward, she has walked the firm through an extended union strike followed by an SEC probe into its $2 billion transaction with electric vehicle producer Nikola. Barra was likewise hit with allegations of racism last year by a group of Black-owned media leaders who blamed her for declining to meet with them, a charge both she and GM denied.
The CEO joined the Business Roundtable in 2017, and at present serves as chair of the Education and Workforce Committee.
“It is an honor to be elected Chair of Business Roundtable,” Barra said in a statement. “I appreciated Doug’s leadership as the Roundtable navigated through many challenges including our response to COVID-19 and leading toward economic recovery as well as our work to advance racial equity and justice. I look forward to continuing to help advance policies that offer greater economic growth and opportunity for all Americans.”