Down to Business: First Female GM President inducted into Canadian Business Hall of Fame

Toronto, Ontario — The first Female president of General Motors Canada has been honoured with an induction into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.

Maureen Kempston Darkes served as President and General Manager from 1994-2001. She was the highest-ranking woman within the company during that period. Kempston-Darkes was honoured not only for her trailblazing appointment as general manager but also for her universal advocacy for women in leadership

She joined GM in 1975, beginning in the legal department as general legal staff. She founded the GM Canada Women’s Council and has worked abroad in VP and Presidential roles for GM operations in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.

Kempston-Darkes is no stranger to being honoured, however, as her accolades include being awarded the Order of Ontario in 1998, and appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1999, just to name a few.

Kempston-Darkes is now retired but continues to serve on the General Motors’ Advisory Board.

“Maureen Kempston Darkes boldly led the way and changed the landscape of automotive leadership,” said Marissa West, the newly appointed President and Managing director of GM Canada. “She was the first–but she won’t be the last. Her tenacity paved the way for women across GM to climb as high as they want, and I’m honoured to be sitting in the same position she held in 1994.”

Kempston-Darkes’ efforts to make the Canadian automotive industry more inclusive will not be forgotten as future generations can continue to be inspired by her leadership, and advocacy for women in business and the automotive industry.



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