Barra to stay the course at GM, but accelerate
DETROIT – General Motors Co.’s new CEO, Mary Barra, says she will largely keep in place the plans of her predecessor, from a restructuring in Europe to a focus on improving profit margins. But she hopes to accelerate that progress. Barra held a 50-minute session a small group of reporters Thursday, her first interview becoming CEO on Jan. 15. Barra, 52, joked that the quiet conference room at GM’s Detroit headquarters was a better place to talk than last week’s Detroit auto show, where she was mobbed by hundreds of reporters. Barra promised “no right or left turns” from the path laid out by former CEO Dan Akerson, who stepped down to care for his ailing wife. Under Akerson, GM rebounded from a 2009 trip to bankruptcy court. It became a publicly traded company again and reported a profit for 15 straight quarters, racking up almost $20 billion in net income thanks to stronger sales in the U.S. and China.