GM’s Barra to Head New Inclusion Advisory Board

General Motors CEO Mary Barra has appointed a new board to address racism and discrimination that may be lurking within the company. The automaker has taken a vocal stance against racism following widespread protests spurred by the killing of George Floyd and wants to be clear as day that it’s committed to diversity and inclusion.

“The board will guide our work to improve diversity and inclusion in our company, with the ultimate aspiration of making GM the most inclusive company in the world,” Barra wrote Monday in an internal document scooped by Automotive News

GM recently set aside $10 million to support organizations that promote inclusion and racial justice, including a $1 million donation to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The board will help the company determine how best to spend the remaining funds.

According to the CEO, the advisory board will be tasked with supporting the words, deeds, and culture rooted in inclusion and racial justice while weeding out language and ideas that do not. The group will be comprised of eight members from GM and four individuals from outside the company. The latter group includes social justice advocate and CEO of the Skillman Foundation, Tonya Allen; CEO of Ignition Media Group and son of former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, Dennis Archer Jr.; chief people officer at GM subsidiary Cruise, Arden Hoffman; and CEO of Ingersoll Automotive, GM Minority Dealer Advisory Council member and chairman of the Buick-GMC dealer council, Todd Ingersoll.

Barra will head the board herself, backed by President Mark Reuss; CFO Dhivya Suryadevara; Kim Brycz (VP of HR); Craig Buchholz (VP of communications); Gerald Johnson (VP of manufacturing); Matt Tsien (chief technology officer); and Telva McGruder (Workplace Engineering and Operations Solutions/ex-President of GM’s African Ancestry Network).

The board was first mentioned when General Motors released a statement committing itself to anti-racism on Juneteenth. Other promises include the aforementioned donations and a vow to battle racism and all of its manifestations:

At General Motors, we recognize that the world — and our company — must evolve toward a more equitable future. Our company stands for more than just the products we build and sell. We stand for the dignity of people, justice, tolerance and inclusion. So, we will use our size, scale, and the collective voice of the entire GM team to stand up for these values.

“We have a lot of work to do as a board and as a company, but this is an encouraging start,” Barra said in her letter to staff. “Please continue the dialogue with one another and in your own social circles, because dialogue leads to understanding, and understanding leads to change. Together, we will do this.”

a version of this article first appeared on TTAC

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