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GM's first woman CEO, Mary Barra, likely to have short time at helm

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Will Mary Barra's term as GM's first woman CEO be a short one? That is the question being asked by those in the financial industry.

Silence in deafening

Since GM named Barra to her prestigious job that occurred just as the stories of GM's poor handling of a more than 6-million vehicle ignition recall broke, folks on Wall Street have been asking just how long she would survive. The silence coming out of GM's corporate headquarters about Barra's ultimate fate has been deafening.

In fact, the financial web site 247wallst.com recently published a lead piece where it asked the question that people have only been mentioning in the background or a long lunches: “CEO Mary Barra has barely been in her job four months, but she could be gone almost immediately.”

Reasons make sense

247wallst.com's reasoning makes sense. It names two reasons why Barra may be an interim GM CEO. They are:

  1. Her experience in running a company that is facing a horrible emergency is nil – she had none.

  2. Barra was named to her position as the head of Global Manufacturing Engineering during the term of former CEO Rick Wagoner in 2008. It was during his term as CEO that many of the problems facing GM surfaced, 247wallst.com noted.

As has been the case in the past, anytime a company such as GM has faced worsening issues, the more likely it is that they will be looking for a scapegoat, 247wallst.com said. In this case, it will be looking at the entire staff and to that end, the board of directors hired a team of attorneys charged with finding out why it heard about the issues facing GM so late.

Chain of command faces questions

247wallst.com noted that it is without question that that the entire chain of command from the boss to the busboy in the cafeteria will face questioning. It further added that as the questioning goes on, the list number of people who can claim they knew nothing about the problems facing the automaker will be growing shorter.

It all boils down to this for Barra: was she aware of the problems with the parts involved in her role as the leader of Global Manufacturing Engineering? Giving her the benefit of the doubt 247wallst.com said she could hardly have known about all of the issues involved but someone on her staff may have known about them. 247wallst.com also noted that she is likely to be looked on as part of the GM staff that was looked on as too slow in communicating issues, if it knew of the issues in the first place.

Short history

The most likely scenario, 247wallst.com believes, is that since she has been at the helm for such a short time, she is hardly likely to know of the issues that underlay the problems. Further, the web site believes there are other executives out there who are more qualified to take on the problems of GM and solve them.

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