What is Mary Barra's net worth? Discover how Barra became the highest-paid auto CEO in the world. Here's her rise-to-riches story.

Mary Barra is the first female CEO of General Motors (GM), the first woman ever to lead a US automaker. She's also the highest-paid auto CEO in the world. It's no wonder she serves as a source of inspiration to women (and men) across the globe. 

What Is Mary Barra's Salary?

Barra's base salary is $2.1 million. But the addition of incentive-based company bonuses, stock awards, paid travel, and security costs combine to give her compensation package a considerable boost. 

What is Mary Barra's net worth? An estimated $194 million

How Much Did the CEO of GM Make Last Year (2020)?  

In 2019, Barra took home more than $20 million in total compensation. It was the third consecutive year she topped that figure. In 2020, Mary's compensation for the year was $40.3 million.

What Is Ford's CEO salary?

In 2019, Ford's CEO Jim Hackett earned a total compensation of nearly $17.4 million. That's slightly lower from his $17.8 million compensation in 2018, and more than 2020 when he made $16.7 million. Advertising for the 2021 Ford Bronco worked well... maybe too well. With the silicon chip and supply chain challenges this year, the factory cannot keep up with demand.

mary barra's

Who Is the Highest Paid CEO in the World?

Mary Barra remains in the top 20 of the highest-paid CEOs in America. But she doesn't yet make the list for the top CEO income earners in the world. Here's the top 10 list of the highest-paid CEOs worldwide:

  1. Elon Musk - Tesla, Inc. 
  2. Patrick Smith - Axon Enterprise, Inc.
  3. David Zaslav - Discovery Communications, Inc.
  4. Stephen Glancey - C&C Group, PLC
  5. Bernhard Hodler - Julius Baer Group, Ltd.
  6. Jay Levine - OneMain Holdings, Inc.
  7. Stephen Schwarzman - The Blackstone Group LP.
  8. John Legere - T-Mobile US, Inc.
  9. Robert Iger - The Walt Disney Company
  10. Gary Steele - Proofpoint, Inc. 

Who Is the Highest Paid CEO? Tell Us More.

Barra is one of the 20 highest-paid CEOs in America. The highest-paid CEO in both in America and worldwide is Elon Musk of Tesla, Inc. His annual compensation is $2.3 billion, and his company's revenue is $21.5 billion.  

How Did Mary Barra Become CEO of General Motors?

Mary became the CEO of GM in 2014, making her the first female CEO of a major international automaker. But where did it all begin? Mary was born to parents Eva and Ray Makela in Waterford, Michigan. Ray was a die-maker at GM for 39 years. Growing up in a GM family and with a passion for cars and engineering, Mary felt at home in the automotive industry.


When it comes to Mary Barra's education, she stayed true to her Motor City roots. After graduating from Waterford Mott High School, Mary began working as a college co-op student for the Pontiac Motors Division in 1980. The Flint, Michigan co-op was a program of the General Motors Institute, later renamed Kettering University. Barra went on to earn a bachelor of science in electrical engineering. 

Something About Mary

By 1988, GM saw something special in Mary. They awarded her a fellowship to study at the Stanford Business School, where she earned an MBA. Once she completed college, Mary began to work her way up in the ranks at GM. She held several different positions, from General Director of Internal Communications to Plant Manager. Finally, she became CEO on December 10, 2013. 

Mary Barra's Husband

Mary married Anthony E. Barra, whom she met during her Kettering University days. Mary and Tony have two children and two dogs and live in Northville, Detroit. 

What Kind of Car Does Mary Barra Drive?

Mary has had an affinity for cars since she was a child. The first car that stole her heart at the young age of 10 was her cousin's late-60s vintage, red Chevy Camaro convertible. However, when it was time to buy her first set of wheels, Barra was watching her budget. She purchased a Chevrolet Chevette, known for its trunk space and legroom. These days, Mary drives a Cadillac Escalade around town. 

What Is Mary Barra Famous For?

Barra made history by becoming the first female CEO of GM. She added Chairman of the Board to her title only two years later. She spearheads customer-focused changes and innovative technologies to meet GM customers' needs.

As Barra leads GM into a future of electric cars, one of the top Mary Barra quotes is her motto: "Zero crashes. Zero emissions. Zero congestion." 

Barra has received several awards and honors, including:

● Featured on the cover of Time's "100 Most Influential People in the World." 

● Forbes ranked her the 35th Most Powerful Woman in the World in 2013. She rose to the rank of #2 in 2018.

● Ranked #1 on Fortune's list of Most Powerful Women in 2016 and remained in the spot for 2017.

Why Is Mary Barra a Good Leader?

According to IEDP Developing Leaders, here's how Barra rose to the became a successful leader. "By tapping her deep knowledge of GM to both activate and direct the positive energy of her people. Ultimately, Mary helped lead the company out of the public relations crisis and established herself as the respected head of the global automaker." 

Barra also emerged as a strong leader in May 2020 as GM moved forward to get employees back to work during the Coronavirus pandemic. MLive reported that Barra sent a back-to-work package, including five face masks and a letter, to each GM employee's home. Under Mary's leadership, most GM manufacturing plants restarted production with a single shift on May 18. 


Using Her Influence for the Best Impact She Can

More recently, she responded to the call for social justice and action as a result of George Floyd's death. Barra has used her leadership role to take a definitive stance against injustice. According to the Detroit Free Press, Barra created an "inclusion advisory board" at GM. The aim is make to make inclusion and diversity the policy in its company ranks. 

Mary said, "We believe that everyone has the responsibility to speak up in the presence of bias and injustice in our world. We will listen and engage in conversations that elevate our collective understanding and inform our actions to address inequality."

CNBC reports shared an email executive Barra sent to employees, suppliers, and dealers following the death of George Floyd. The email expressed her impatience and disgust with the growing list of black Americans who have lost their lives due to their skin color. Mary charged her company, stating, "Let's stop asking 'why' and start asking 'what' we can do--individually and collectively--to drive meaningful, deliberate change." 

The Takeaway 

People love reading success stories like Mary Barra's because they are inspiring. Learning about how Mary rose to fame and fortune can be more than inspiring, though. It can be a catalyst for going out there and creating the life you want. If Mary can do it, nothing's stopping you from doing it, too.

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