On January 1, 2022, the Business Roundtable welcomed General Motors Chair and CEO Mary Barra into her role as the newly elected Chair for the organization.
Barra, who joined the Business Roundtable in 2017, becomes the first woman to serve as Chair. She follows Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon, who has completed his term. “Mary has a long track record of success and is a business leader who recognizes the strength of the multi-stakeholder approach to creating value, and I am thrilled to pass the baton to her,” said McMillon on Barra’s appointment.
Established in 1972, the Business Roundtable is a non-profit association made up of CEOs from some of the highest-earning companies in the United States. Members of the Business Roundtable use their expertise to advocate for public policies that promote a “thriving U.S. economy” and spur job creation for all Americans.
For example, in October 2020, the Business Roundtable announced a series of corporate initiatives and policy recommendations to advance racial equity and close the economic opportunity gap within communities of color. In a comprehensive action plan, the Business Roundtable laid out solutions in key areas including: healthcare, education and workforce, finance, and the justice system. Barra played a key role in leading this initiative, and sits on the Special Committee for Racial Equity and Justice that was established the same year.
Robert F. Smith’s Work to Increase Corporate Diversity
Smith is Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners and is an at-large member of Business Roundtable. Like Barra, he served on the Special Committee for Racial Equity and Justice, and focuses on solutions for increasing corporate diversity. In May 2020, Smith joined members in signing the Business Roundtable’s statement against racial justice.
Outside of the Business Roundtable, Smith has publicly shared ideas for building a diverse and inclusive workplace. In 2020, Smith was recognized by Forbes for his leadership in promoting diversity and inclusion, particularly with The 2% Solution. The 2% Solution is a plan proposed by Smith to encourage companies to invest in marginalized communities. Based on the idea that many families across the U.S. donate 2% of their income to charity, Smith’s solution asks U.S. corporations to invest 2% of their yearly profits into communities that are negatively impacted by the racial wealth gap.
Learn more about Smith’s work to center diversity in the workplace.