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More Code Speakers: Barra, Maritz, Peretti and Smith

GM, Pivotal, BuzzFeed -- all companies trying to figure out the digital future.

Another week, another Code speaker update (there are a few more to come) for our upcoming conference.

Today, we are thrilled to add General Motors CEO Mary Barra to the group. When she got the job early in 2014, she was the first woman to head a major carmaker. Barra has been at GM her entire career, after getting a degree in electrical engineering at its General Motors Institute (Kettering University). Rising through the ranks, she has been responsible for the design, engineering, program management and quality of GM vehicles globally. It’s important experience since the auto industry faces stiff new challenges in the digital arena, including from Apple and Google, as well as new business model innovators like Tesla and Uber. Whether auto leadership like Barra can turn their cars into real mobile devices remains to be seen.

Longtime tech veteran Paul Maritz was on the very short list to be CEO of Microsoft, where he worked for 14 years until 2000. It’s no wonder — besides being one of its most important execs during its most powerful era, the Zimbabwe-born exec has been an active entrepreneur. After he left the Redmond, Wash., giant., Maritz went on to found Pi Corporation, which was acquired by EMC; he moved to run EMC’s VMware investment and then to run Pivotal, a joint venture of EMC, General Electric and VMware. Given how much change the enterprise space is undergoing, Maritz has the perspective to explain where it is headed next.

And there will be a lot to ask one of the most interesting twosomes in online media these days — BuzzFeed’s CEO Jonah Peretti and editor-in-chief Ben Smith — about the future of the social news and entertainment company. Huffington Post co-founder Peretti launched BuzzFeed in 2006 as an experiment in viral content, with Smith arriving in 2012, and the pair have grown the site to 200 million monthly unique visitors using Facebook and other innovative distribution strategies. Despite the success, BuzzFeed has recently attracted some level of controversy around its handling of the advertiser-editorial relationship, after Smith revealed in a memo that the site’s editors had deleted posts after advertiser complaints. What happened there and also how BuzzFeed will evolve going forward is a fascinating arena for all those interested in the future of media.

Other speakers announced previously include: Xiaomi’s international head Hugo Barra; Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure; Reddit interim CEO Ellen Pao; GoPro CEO and founder Nick Woodman; Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel; Airbnb’s Brian Chesky, Oculus VR’s Brendan Iribe; Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker; CBS CEO Les Moonves; Google business lead Omid Kordestani; Target CEO Brian Cornell; and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

As usual, the event — held May 26 to 28 in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. — sold out quickly. But, as always, Re/code will be putting up extensive video clips of the interviews immediately and the entire sessions soon after.

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