There were numerous blog posts and news stories bemoaning the fact that Barra was making less money than the man she replaced. People's jowls were quivering in outrage that this particular millionaire CEO wasn't going to earn as much money as another millionaire CEO. As Nora Caplan-Bricker wrote in The New Republic "In the past few days, Mary Barra, the new CEO of General Motors and the first ever female CEO of a major car company, has morphed from a symbol of success to an embodiment of the fact no amount of ambition and labor guarantees a woman equal treatment. It's hard to muster too much sympathy for a woman pulling in $4 million a year. But, in at least a general sense, Barra's problem is every American woman's problem—magnified by a larger sum."
Strong stuff! From reading this purple prose I honestly expected that Barra would be opening her first leadership meeting by singing this song. I mean she's got it hard! The world is a ghetto! It's another attack in the War on Women! To the barricades comrades!!!!
Well not so fast. As it turns out all of the outraged news stories and blog posts were based on incomplete and thus fundamentally inaccurate information. Actually Ms. Barra stands to earn 60% more in her first year on the job than former CEO Daniel Akerson earned on his final year on the job. That's right, MORE.
Mary T. Barra, chief executive of General Motors, will earn as much as $14.4 million in compensation during her first year on the job, the company said on Monday. The amount of compensation revealed in January — $1.6 million in salary and $2.8 million as part of the company’s short-term incentive plan — will most likely be a small part of Ms. Barra’s earnings, but it was used by media outlets as a baseline comparison to the about $9 million Mr. Akerson earned in compensation last year.
The total package Ms. Barra stands to receive in her first year as chief executive represents a 60 percent increase over what Mr. Akerson earned in his final year on the job. “As a new C.E.O., Mary’s total compensation is in line with her peer group and properly weighted so that most is at-risk,” G.M.’s chairman, Theodore M. Solso, said in a statement on Monday. “The company’s performance will ultimately determine how much she is paid.”
So I fully expect that the folks who were hooting and hollering about unfair gender bias against women because they thought that a woman wasn't making as much money as a man certainly now will start flapping their gums about unfair gender bias against men because a woman is making a lot more than a man. I mean we know that
The purely ideological are rarely swayed by evidence and likely won't be in this case either. However this non-story should remind the rest of us living in the reality based community to at least try to take the time to find out what's going on first before we go off the deep end and start making assertions or jumping to conclusions. And the media failed in that job here. It makes you wonder what else they get wrong. After all, as Mark Twain may have said, " A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes".