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General Motors reported a 2022 full-year revenue of $156.7 billion with a net income of $9.9 billion, selling more vehicles last year than any other automaker.

As the highest-paid Chief Executive Officer of the Detroit Three (Ford, GM, and Stellantis) auto manufacturers, GM CEO Mary Barra saw a large portion of the company earnings come her way with a staggering annual salary package.

Mary Barra makes a comfortable living running GM

GM recently filed an annual executive compensation report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), stating that Barra earned $28,979,570 in 2022.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the CEO’s take-home pay was slightly less than her 2021 compensation of $29,136,780 due to a smaller annual bonus. In 2021, Barra earned $29,136,780 as chairman of the board and GM CEO. In 2020, her total compensation package totaled $23.7 million. Meanwhile, in 2019, she earned $21.6 million.

GM President Mark Reuss and CFO Paul Jacobson saw an increase in 2022 compensation after receiving more stock options with the auto giant. However, other top executives came in slightly lower than their 2021 earned income, thanks to smaller bonus payments enacted by the board of directors.

Mary Barra’s base pay and bonuses

According to GM’s filing with the SEC, the high-powered CEO received a base salary of $2.1 million. Barra faired rather well, considering the median pay for global employees working for the leading auto manufacturer was $80,034 in 2022.

In addition to a substantial base salary, the empowered CEO earned $14.6 million in stock awards, another $4.9 million in option awards, and approximately $6.3 million in incentive plan compensation. The SEC filings report $1.1 million more in “other” payments.

Meanwhile, GM has been cutting the fat with company-wide employee layoffs. CNN Business reported that at the beginning of 2023, the automaker announced plans to reduce costs over the next two years by $2 billion, with Barra telling investors, “I do want to be clear, though, we’re not planning layoffs. We are limiting our hiring to only the most strategically important roles and will use attrition to help manage overall headcount.”

Despite her claim, hundreds of salaried workers got laid off in March 2023, and GM “strongly encouraged” 5,000 select global employees to accept a voluntary separation program. Several months later, several hundred contract workers were let go. In August 2023, GM announced the closure of its Arizona Technology Center, laying off another 936 workers.

A successful career with General Motors

Barra has been with GM since 1980, when, at 18 years of age, she began her career as a co-op student at the General Motors Institute (Kettering University) inspecting hoods and fenders in the Pontiac Motor Division.

In 1985, she received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. In 1990, Barra received a GM fellowship to earn a Master of Business Administration from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Before becoming the first female CEO of a major automotive manufacturing company, Barra quickly rose through the ranks. She served as the executive vice president for GM’s Global Product Development, Purchasing, and Supply Chain and the senior vice president of Global Product Development.

In both roles, the successful businesswoman was responsible for worldwide GM vehicle launches, managing teams throughout the design, engineering, and quality control production phases.

Barra was named GM CEO in January 2014, replacing Daniel Akerson. In 2016, she was elected Chair of the GM Board of Directors.

Throughout her career with GM, Barra has faced many challenges, establishing a reputation within the automotive industry as one of the most respected leaders. As she leads the auto giant towards an all-electric future, Barra was recently inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame and recognized by Time, Fortune, and Forbes as one of the most influential women in business.


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