TIME career

Matt Lauer Asked Mary Barra If She Can Be a Good Mom and Run GM

GM CEO Mary Barra Testifies At House Hearing On Ignition Switch Recall
General Motors CEO Mary Barra testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 18, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson--Getty Images) Mark Wilson—Getty Images

Just months after Sen. Barbara Boxer said she was disappointed in Barra "woman to woman."

In an exclusive TODAY show interview with Mary Barra, Matt Lauer asked the General Motors CEO if it was possible for her to run a major automaker and be a good mom at the same time.

Here’s a transcript of that part of the interview:

LAUER: You’re a mom, I mentioned, two kids. You said in an interview not long ago that your kids told you they’re going to hold you accountable for one job and that is being a mom.

BARRA: Correct. (smiling.)

LAUER: Given the pressures of this job at General Motors, can you do both well?

BARRA: You know, I think I can. I have a great team, we’re on the right path…I have a wonderful family, a supportive husband and I’m pretty proud of the way my kids are supporting me in this.

Lauer also asked her about the speculation that despite her 30 years of experience at the company, she may have gotten the job because of the desire to have a maternal figure guide the company through a rocky time.

LAUER: I want to tread lightly here. You’ve heard this, you heard it in Congress. You got this job because you’re hugely qualified, 30 years in this company a variety of different jobs. But some people are speculating that you also got this job because as a woman and as a mom because people within General Motors knew this company was in for a very tough time and as a woman and a mom you could present a softer image and softer face for this company as it goes through this horrible episode. Does it make sense or does it make you bristle?

BARRA: Well it’s absolutely not true. I believe I was selected for this job based on my qualifications. We dealt with this issue — when the senior leadership of this company knew about this issue, we dealt with this issue.

This interrogation comes just a few months after Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) told Barra during her Senate questioning that “woman to woman, I’m disappointed.”

How’s this for a question: Can Matt Lauer be a good dad and host the Today Show? Let’s discuss.

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