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GM names members of new Inclusion Advisory Board

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

Detroit — General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra Monday named the members of the automaker's newly formed Inclusion Advisory Board that will work to make GM a more inclusive company.

The diverse body made up of men and women of different races includes leaders from inside the company and outside. GM's leadership team has pledged to fight racism, bigotry and discrimination by doing more to root them out of the organization and beyond. The push for change at GM and other major companies comes after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed by a Minneapolis police officer, that prompted nationwide protests against racism and police brutality. 

"We stand up against injustice — that means taking the risk of expressing an unpopular or polarizing point of view, because complacency and complicity sit in the shadow of silence," said General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra.

"We have a lot of work to do as a board and as a company, but this is an encouraging start," Barra wrote in an internal memo sent to employees and obtained by The Detroit News. "I continue to be inspired by your notes, your personal stories, and your commitment to doing your part to make our company and our world a better and more equitable place for everyone. 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."

In addition to forming the advisory board, GM has designated $10 million to support organizations that promote inclusion and racial justice. An initial $1 million will go to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Members of the Inclusion Advisory Board are:

  • Dhivya Suryadevara, GM's executive vice president and chief financial officer

  • Gerald Johnson, executive vice president, global manufacturing

  • Matt Tsien, GM executive vice president, chief technology officer since April 2020 and leader of GM’s operations in China

  • Kimberly J. Brycz, GM's senior vice president, global human resources

  • Craig Buchholz, GM's senior vice president of global communications

  • Tonya Allen, president and CEO, Skillman Foundation, and social justice advocate

  • Dennis Archer Jr., CEO, Ignition Media Group and president, Archer Corporate Services

  • Arden Hoffman, chief people officer, Cruise

  • Todd Ingersoll, president, Ingersoll Automotive of Danbury, and GM Minority Dealer Advisory Council member

  • Telva McGruder, Employee Resource Group at-large member, General Motors

  • Mark Reuss, GM president

The first official IAB meeting is planned for next month. The board will focus on developing action plans guided by its principles. 

Some of these principles include: believing "everyone has the responsibility to speak up in the presence of bias and injustice in our world," not being silent and leveraging GM's voice "to contribute to the dialogue condemning injustice and driving inclusion," building relationships that "advocate for and achieve equality in social justice, education, health care, and economic opportunities for Blacks and other marginalized groups," and ensuring "a more transparent workplace environment that is safe, respectful, free from fear and promotes and delivers real and measurable outcomes."

Barra is one of nine Detroit company leaders to publicly reject racism during an early June press conference at the requests of the Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of Detroit's NAACP chapter, and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

Other executives who joined were Wright Lassiter, Henry Ford Health System CEO; Christopher Ilitch, CEO of Ilitch Holdings Inc.; Bill Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Co.; Mark Stewart, chief operating officer of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV in North America; Gary Torgow, a Detroit native and executive chairman of TCF Financial Corp.; and Gerry Anderson, executive chairman of DTE Energy Co.; Jay Farner, Quicken Loans Inc. CEO; and Dan Loepp, CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

khall@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @bykaleahall