A century after Henry Ford revolutionized the auto world, it's still an old boys club. But these 10 women are leading the way in an industry overdue for change.
Executive vice president global product development & global purchasing & supply chain
Barra picked up a big promotion at GM GM in August when she added purchasing and supply chain to her duties. Her new responsibilities boosted her standing as a favorite to succeed CEO Dan Akerson in 2014 — an historic first for a woman in Detroit. Barra’s management mantra is a simple one: “No more crappy cars.”
Vice president global purchasing and supply Chain
Lieblein, who reports to Barra, oversees 6,700 employees and a $77 billion purchasing budget that goes for parts and services provided by 3,000 suppliers worldwide. Before taking her job in August, she had been president and managing director of GM Brazil. She holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and a master’s in materials and logistics management.
Toyota Motor North America
Chief communications officer
Hamp is responsible for marketing, product, and brand communications for Toyota, Lexus, and Scion brands, investor relations, and corporate advertising as Toyota TM fights to maintain its title as the world’s largest automaker. She previously held executive positions at GM and Pepsico.
The most successful woman race car driver ever, Patrick is the first member of her gender to lead the Indy 500 as well as the first to win the pole position at the Daytona 500. In her rookie Sprint Cup season in 2013, driving the Go Daddy Chevrolet, Patrick had eight top 20 finishes but still isn’t satisfied. “I was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl,” she says.
Senior vice president, global quality and global customer experience
In her new job, Boler-Davis reports to CEO Dan Akerson and is a member of the executive operations committee. In a previous assignment, she pulled off the unusual feat of serving the dual role of chief engineer for the Chevrolet Sonic while manager of the Orion Township assembly plant where the car is built.
Vice president and chief operating officer, Ford of Europe.
With her promotion in November, Samardzich is responsible for manufacturing, quality, product development, purchasing, sustainability, and safety engineering at Ford of Europe. She had been vice president of product development. Ford’s F European unit is being restructured to reduce capacity and cut losses.
Chrysler Group LLC
Unit responsible, electrical and electronics engineering
Recently singled out by CEO Sergio Marchionne for her work on the compact Dodge Dart, Barman has full responsibility for electrical component and system design, development, and validation on all Chrysler Group products. She holds BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering, as well as an MBA from the University of Michigan.
Hasenfratz was been CEO since 2002 of the fast-growing company her father founded. Canada’s second-largest auto supplier sold a record C$3.3 billion worth of parts in 2012 including cylinder blocks and heads, camshafts, and connecting rods; and she aims to triple that by 2020.
BMW of North America
Vice president of marketing
Hardy took over her current position in September, responsible for BMW brand marketing, product planning, and strategy. She started her career at Jaguar and joined the BMW Group in 2001 as Mini USA brand communications manager.
Vice president, global dealer and consumer experience.
Elena, a great-great granddaughter of Henry Ford, got a new job and a new title, corporate vice president, in March, becoming the first female member of her family to reach that level. Formerly director of global marketing operations, she works on standardizing customer relations across the company.