You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.


  • GateHouse Media parent to buy Providence Journal
    The parent company of Gatehouse Media LLC on Tuesday announced an agreement to buy The Providence Journal and related print and digital assets from A.H. Belo Corp. for $46 million cash.
  • New F-150 can compete with Silverado, Ford says
    DEARBORN, Mich. – Ford said its aluminum-sided F-150 pickup will hold its own against rivals despite its lighter weight.
  • Beer trend reversal brewing
    RICHMOND, Va. – Helping to quench a growing thirst for American craft beer overseas, some of the United States’ largest craft breweries are setting up shop in Europe, challenging the very beers that inspired them on their

Crisis greets new CEO with a fistful of issues


– Few chief executive officers would want Mary Barra’s job right now. The company she leads, General Motors, is just five years out from bankruptcy and a government bailout. It is recalling 1.6 million vehicles to fix a faulty ignition switch, a problem the company now says it has known about for more than 10 years. Lawmakers in both the House and the Senate have announced plans for hearings. There are reports of a probe by the Justice Department, too.

And she reportedly first learned of the problem after being on the job just a few weeks.

Other CEOs have faced monumental crises this early in their tenure. The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks happened just four days after Jeffrey Immelt took over as CEO of General Electric. Within two months of Steven Newman becoming CEO of Transocean, its Deepwater Horizon oil well exploded, creating a massive spill.

Still, few CEOs have faced such major internally induced crises as the one Barra confronts at GM.

As a result, it’s easy to see nothing but the massive challenges she faces. On top of managing the recall and the investigations – Barra has said she’s personally directing the recall effort – there is still the not-so-simple matter of continuing to revamp GM’s bureaucratic culture and building on the company’s rebound.

In addition, no new CEO is practiced in the art of being the external face of the company to investors, the media or congressional committees. And then there’s the tricky tightrope she’ll need to walk between distancing herself from the past and looking like she’s making excuses.

But for all those thorny challenges, she may have certain things working in her favor. Barra – or any other CEO facing a crisis this early in his or her tenure – is likely to be showered with resources and advice from GM’s board. Board members don’t want the CEO they just put their stamp of approval on to fail.