Postcards

How the power players do it - by Fortune senior editor at large Patricia Sellers

How GM and YouTube CEOs climb the ranks

February 6, 2014: 11:46 AM ET

GM CEO Mary Barra and Google exec Susan Wojcicki, newly in charge of YouTube, show that you can reach the top by staying in one place.

GM CEO Mary Barra, No. 1 on Fortune's Global Most Powerful Women list

GM CEO Mary Barra, No. 1 on Fortune's Global Most Powerful Women list

FORTUNE -- Job-hopping can be a path to promotions and big pay for many executives, but the global edition of the Fortune Most Powerful Women list, released today, suggests that there is still value in corporate loyalty. Ten of the 50 executives on the list have been working at their companies their entire career.

And the woman at the top—Mary Barra, the No. 1 Most Powerful Woman in Business globally – is a star who not only worked her way up to CEO at General Motors (GM) over 33 years; she did it by not leaning in aggressively. No offense to Sheryl Sandberg (the Facebook (FB) COO with the bestselling Lean In is No. 11 in our global rankings), but I asked Barra, for a Q&A that appears in the new issue of Fortune, if she has ever asked for a promotion. "No, I have not," she replied. Have you ever asked for a raise? "No, I have not," the new GM chief answered matter-of-factly.

Leaning back has not seemed to hurt Barra, 52. Her philosophy: "Do every job you're in like you're going to do it for the rest of your life and demonstrate that ownership of it," she told me. "You deliver and produce results and you do it with high integrity and teamwork, and it'll all work out. You don't have to ask for different jobs, and you don't have to ask for raises.."

That may sound Pollyannish, but more power to Barra if it works out for her longterm. If you've heard the report that she's getting paid less than half of what her CEO predecessor, Dan Akerson, earned, don't believe it. GM has disclosed only Barra's base salary and short-term compensation so far. The company is yet to announce her long-term package, and until that happens in April, no one knows how her pay will compare. (On AC360 with Anderson Cooper Tuesday night, I suggested that the more fuss people make about Barra's pay, the more likely she'll earn more than Akerson.)

New YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki

New YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki

Another MPW lifer is making a big job change: Google (GOOG) announced Wednesday that Susan Wojcicki, SVP of ads and commerce, is the new CEO of the company's YouTube unit. Wojcicki, who famously rented her garage to co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page when they were plotting their startup and got onboard as employee No. 16, has been a team player much like Barra. It's not in Wojcicki's nature to push her own agenda over the company's to advance her career. Now, after she has built and managed Google's ad products these past 15 years, Wojcicki's new assignment can fulfill her desire to run a business.

Wojcicki's appointment makes sense for YouTube as well. My Fortune colleague Miguel Helft, who wrote a terrific cover story called "Why YouTube Changes Everything" last July, notes that YouTube's No. 1 issue is not content or audience; rather, it's ad rates. So the woman who has been, by some measures, the most powerful woman in advertising will work to make YouTube more than just a cultural phenom: a reliable money machine.

  • Silicon Valley chef's recipe for giving

    While we think we're doing enough by giving to philanthropic causes, we might do more by attending to the people in need right before our eyes.

    FORTUNE -- Jesse Cool, the owner-chef of Menlo Park's Flea Street restaurant, has fed just about everybody who is anybody in Silicon Valley. At Table 61, Larry Page and Sergey Brin schemed to create Google (GOOG). At Table 31, Mark Zuckerberg convened with Sheryl Sandberg when she MORE

    - Dec 23, 2013 9:49 AM ET
  • How to innovate? Google exec explains

    The best type of innovation is disruptive innovation. Who better to teach it than a star Google exec who ran the Pentagon's R&D arm?

    FORTUNE -- Disruptive innovation is the kind that unhinges old ways of operating, juices competition and creates new growth.

    One of the world's leading experts on the subject is Regina Dugan, Motorola Mobility's SVP in charge of Advanced Technology and Projects, a skunkworks-inspired unit devoted to delivering breakthrough innovations. MORE

    - Dec 17, 2013 8:51 AM ET
  • DNA test CEO Wojcicki talks about her "big challenge"

    In an exclusive interview with Fortune, 23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki fesses up to her failure to get approvals to market her genetic test kits.

    FORTUNE -- For the first time since the FDA came down hard on 23andMe for marketing its DNA tests without proper approvals, founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki spoke about "the big challenge," as she called the firestorm, in an exclusive interview with Fortune.

    I talked with Anne and MORE

    - Dec 4, 2013 8:31 AM ET
  • Another senior woman exits Google

    FORTUNE -- Five months after Marissa Mayer quit Google (GOOG) to become the new CEO of Yahoo (YHOO), veteran Googler and SVP Shona Brown is leaving the company as well.

    Brown, who joined Google from McKinsey in 2003, has remained as under the radar as Mayer floated above it. Highly analytical and introverted, Brown has spent the bulk of her Google career overseeing Business Operations—advising senior management on business strategy, organizational MORE

    - Dec 14, 2012 3:00 PM ET
  • Facebook COO Sandberg: How to build a business

    So, Facebook (FB) knows how to grow. On Tuesday, the company that everyone loved to discount reported better-than-expected profits and a 32% increase in third-quarter revenue to nearly $1.3 billion. The stock is popping.

    Substantial credit goes to Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer and CEO Mark Zuckerberg's No. 2, who has learned a thing or two about scaling businesses. When Sandberg  joined her previous employer Google (GOOG) in 2001, that MORE

    - Oct 24, 2012 10:59 AM ET
  • Yahoo CEO Mayer's hot hires from Google

    Meet her impressive new hires.

    FORTUNE -- More than just importing Google (GOOG) culture -- free food! free smartphones! -- to Yahoo (YHOO), CEO Marissa Mayer is bringing in Google talent too. On Monday, which was Mayer's first day back since delivering a baby boy September 30, Yahoo announced the appointment of Henrique de Castro as COO. De Castro is one of several recruits whom Mayer used to work with at MORE

    - Oct 16, 2012 12:28 PM ET
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  • Marissa Mayer: Ready to rumble at Yahoo

    Mayer - No. 3 on the 40 Under 40 - is changing the culture and welcoming new faces to the troubled web company. But this new chief (and new mom) has miles to go before she sleeps.

    FORTUNE -- On a Friday morning in late August, six weeks into her new job as CEO of Yahoo (YHOO), Marissa Mayer was brainstorming about how to make the company innovative again. She became MORE

    - Oct 11, 2012 8:18 AM ET
  • Who are the 2012 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs?

    FORTUNE -- One of this year's Fortune Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs multitasks in Hollywood. She's a movie star.

    Another 2012 MPW Entrepreneur just sold her company to Google (GOOG) for a reported $350 million.

    Another winner, nominated by Facebook (FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg, sold her company to LinkedIn (LNKD) for $119 million this year.

    These three startup queens are Jessica Alba of The Honest Co., Victoria Ransom of Wildfire Interactive, and Rashmi Sinha MORE

    - Aug 31, 2012 9:00 AM ET
  • Fortune awards 2012 Global Women Leaders

    Real power is personal power—what you do beyond your official job description.

    As I've come to know the leaders who make up Fortune's Most Powerful Women community, I've embraced this kind of power. It makes work more than a job.

    CEOs like Ursula Burns of Xerox (XRX), Tory Burch, Ellen Kullman of DuPont (DD), Marissa Mayer of Yahoo (YHOO), and Pat Woertz of ADM (ADM) are those sorts of leaders who go beyond the call, stretching MORE

    - Aug 9, 2012 1:33 PM ET
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MPWomen go Global

The Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership brings rising-star women from countries around the world to the U.S. for three-week mentorships with participants of the annual Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit - among them Ursula Burns of Xerox, Laura Lang of Time Inc., Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, and Tory Burch.

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