GM CEO holds off on meeting with Black Media execs

General Motors (GM) delayed its scheduled meeting today with GM CEO Mary Barra and number of key Black-owned media representatives, the Detroit Free Press reported.

This proposed meeting came on the heels of a full-page ad (published in the Michigan Chronicle on Wednesday) from the media entities on how Barra is not being as inclusive as she could be with Black representation — and that she has refused to meet with the media groups.


Byron Allen, founder, chairman & CEO of Allen Media Group, LLC  and six other executives from Black-owned media companies (including Ebony Media and Black Enterprise) signed a full-page ad that was also in last Sunday’s Detroit Free Press criticizing Barra, according to the article. The ad was slated to run in The Wall Street Journal this week according to an Ad Age report.

The automaker said, per the Free Press article, that it will hold a number of smaller meetings with these media leaders, and its current partners, over the next several weeks and will “work to schedule the meetings ASAP,” Pat Morrissey, GM spokesman said in the article.

General Motors Co. has stated previously that it holds a firm on its stance of striving toward being the “most inclusive company,” Black-owned media company executives have another opinion about Barra’s effort. The media moguls stated before the Thursday cancellation that she is unwilling to sit down with them, The Detroit News reported.

“We were seriously offended watching you stand on stage, after the death of George Floyd, saying, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ when you have refused to acknowledge us and you have consistently, over time and after multiple requests, refused to take a meeting with the largest Black Owned Media companies in America,” the letter in the ad states. “Mary, the very definition of systemic racism is when you are ignored, excluded and you don’t have true economic inclusion.”

GM defended its track record earlier this week. Morrissey said in the article that GM spends more money on ads with Black-owned media companies than the 0.5% the ad states it does.

Dennis Archer Jr., sits on GM’s Inclusion Advisory Board and the GM Supplier Council, and his company, Archer Corporate Services, is a 16-year GM supplier, according to the article. Archer Jr., says Barra knows GM has room to improve.

“When she says she wants to be the most inclusive company in the world, she means it,” he said in an interview with Detroit News on Monday, also saying that shifting a company doesn’t happen quickly.

Read the latest article here.


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