Mary Bara

The celebration of the first woman ever to head a Big 8 automaker and the largest seller in the U.S. market ended soon after the champagne popped. Mary Barra took the reins of GM in January and in April was summoned to Congress to answer for faulty ignition switches linked to 13 deaths, saying "I am deeply sorry." But the 33-year veteran, who began at the company at 18 while working toward an electrical engineering degree, remained poised and confident under fire. Her leadership, she said, will bring about a "new GM" able to regain customer trust. Too soon to call, but the Detroit automaker announced sales were up 7% in April year-over-year. Expect at least 14 new or updated models to roll out this year.

She is number 7 on the list.

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World's Most Influential Women 2014

Category: Business

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