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Honoree Headshot
Jill Heneghan

Lamar Q Rucker

President & CEO
General Motors

Location: St. Charles, MO
Founded: 1908
Industry: Manufacturing

Lamar Q. Rucker’s journey has proven that he is not one to face challenges lightly. From a young age, Rucker knew that struggle would foster success. After his father died when he was young, and his mother urged him to strive for success, he applied himself in school and played basketball. As an adult, he initially thought he would be an accountant but quickly learned there was a lack of work-life balance in that industry. Rucker went into the auto manufacturing industry instead.

Rucker worked for the Big Three automakers and eventually came back to General Motors, where he found a good work-life balance, one where he could be home at night. He climbed the ranks at GM quickly, starting as a supervisor and reaching plant manager in seven years. Now, after 26 years with the company, Rucker is president and CEO.

“Lamar is a natural leader who deeply connects with people and he dedicates time to coach and teach young people,” his team said. “One thing he teaches them is that becoming a CEO takes time and to never give up and keep patience on your side, but with hard work, it can be achieved. He is an example of this and enjoys working with others. Lamar has launched many new products for GM during his time and has helped position the well-established brand for the future.”

Under Rucker’s leadership, the vision for GM is to become a tech company that provides services beyond just automotive. The company is pivoting to electric and internal combustion, with the aim to provide energy to homes and other products while divesting of some of its traditional offerings.

“It truly is an exciting time for GM and the future looks bright over the next five years,” the company said. “The company will not only build cars but enter new areas that make a great, positive impact on society. We also want to continue to grow on the tech side with GM’s new ventures. It is an exciting time to be a part of this team and we are excited to share the future.”

Rucker has won numerous awards, including The Who’s Who in Black Automotive (2011), The Southern Leadership Christian Award (2003) and The Motor Trend Award for Leadership from Volt. He has been a part of industry studies with world-leading institutions, including Harvard and Stanford University studies and Case Western Reserve in Cleveland Cohort.

“Leaders should possess a number of attributes that must intertwine to be successful,” Rucker said. “Interpersonal communication reflecting motivation, honesty, integrity and respect is a key component. Along with relationship building, these factors come together to empower the team. Successful leaders also encourage team members to develop and learn and use mistakes as teachable moments, which encourages everyone to do their best.”

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Lamar has had the opportunity to meet many actresses/actors, artists, presidents, recording artists and he is friends with Ozzy Smith in St. Louis who is quite a character. He enjoys playing golf, playing the piano and interacting with people.

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