Mary Barra, the newly installed CEO of General Motors, will be sitting with Michelle Obama at the State of the Union address tonight.
Guests in the box with the First Lady “represent the stories of millions of Americans across the country, who are working hard to better their communities, improve their own economic outcomes and help restore opportunity for all,” the White House said.
Barra took over as CEO on January 15 after a 30-year career with the automaker. She most recently served as head of product, overseeing the launches of a series of excellent cars from Chevy, Cadillac, and Buick.
Mark Reuss, who has taken over that role, told Business Insider that Barra is poised to succeed because she lived through the dark days of GM’s decline and bankruptcy, as well as its resurgence.
“And so that depth of understanding of those mistakes and what we’ve done, the success of turning that to a different place, is pretty profound on how you run the business,” Reuss said. “So I think those things will serve her really well in the decisions that we make in different regions and different portfolios and different approaches to product development, and the success of the company. I know it will.”
Barra is also the first woman to run a major automaker.
Other guests in the First Lady’s box include Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, Air Force veteran and single mother Sabrina Simone Jenkins, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, and Puerto Rican fourth grader Aliana Arzola-Pinero.
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