DETROIT – Meg Whitman, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Mark Tatum, deputy commissioner and COO of the National Basketball Association, are joining General Motors (GM) board, an official statement by the company has said.
With the election of Whitman, 64, and Tatum, 51, GM now has 13 directors, seven of whom are women, making GM the only automaker with more than half its board comprising women, according to website 50/50 Women on Boards, which tracks the gender composition of corporate boards in the Russell 3000 Index.
Of the women on GM’s board, one identifies as Hispanic, one as African American and one as Asian African American, said GM spokesman Jim Cain.
GM is one of only 154 companies nationwide that have gender-balanced boards, meaning half, one more than half, or one less than half of corporate board seats are occupied by women, according to 50/50 Women on Boards.
GM has also been a leader in diversity, having been the first Fortune 500 company to seat an African American director, the Rev. Leon Sullivan, in 1971, Cain said. GM elected its first woman, Catherine B. Cleary, to its board in 1972, whereas Ford Motor Co.’s first female director was elected in 1976; Honda’s in 2014.
GM’s 12 independent directors have senior leadership and board experience in the fields of information technology, digital commerce, retail, higher education, investment management, international affairs, defense, transportation, cybersecurity, and pharmaceuticals.
GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said the diversity of GM’s board is a competitive advantage as GM works toward selling all light-duty zero-emissions vehicles by 2035.
“Mark and Meg will bring unique experiences to the Board, especially in technology, brand building and customer experience that will help us drive value for shareholders and other GM stakeholders now and into the future,” Barra said in a statement.
“I have tremendous respect for the commitments Mary and her team are making and the culture they have been building,” Whitman said. “GM’s growth strategy has all the elements of a startup but with far greater scale, millions of customers, and a strong underlying business. This makes it a very exciting time to join the Board.”
Tatum noted that GM is changing its century-old business model and “marshaling thousands of people and billions of dollars to drive solutions that matter for the environment, communities, businesses and investors.”
“Joining the Board and helping accelerate that change is an honor and I look forward to working with the GM team and my fellow directors to make it happen.”
The board will stand for election at GM’s annual shareholders meeting June 14.
Besides Barra and Whitman, here are GM’s other female board members:
- Pat Russo, chair of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Company.
- Linda Gooden, retired executive vice president at Lockheed Martin.
- Jane Mendillo, retired CEO of Harvard Management Company.
- Judith Miscik, CEO and vice chair of Kissinger Associates, Inc.
- Carol Stephenson, retired dean of Ivey Business School, University of Western Ontario.
Here is how some other automakers’ boards stack up in terms of gender:
- Tesla: 2 of 9 are women
- Ford: 4 of 14 are women
- Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler Automobiles): 3 of 11 are women
- Toyota: 2 of 14 are women
- Nissan: 2 of 12 are women
- Renault: 6 of 16 (one is not independent) are women
- Volkswagen Supervisory Board: 6 of 20 are women