GM names Mary Barra CEO, first woman to hold top position at automaker

By Daniel S Levine,

Mary Barra has been named the new CEO of General Motors, making her the first woman to hold the top post at any of the major automakers. She will take over after current CEO Daniel Akerson retires in January.

The company said that Akerson, 65, will leave on Jan. 15, much sooner than planned. His wife was recently diagnosed with an advanced form of cancer, according to the company.

Theodore Solso, 66, will take Akerson’s Chairman post as well. He has been on the GM Board since last year and is the former CEO and Chairman of Cummins, Inc.

Barra, 51, is current executive vice president of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. As parto f becoming CEO, she will also join the GM Board.

“With an amazing portfolio of cars and trucks and the strongest financial performance in our recent history, this is an exciting time at today’s GM,” Barra said in today’s announcement. “I’m honored to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed.”

Akerman added that he is leaving with “great satisfaction in what we have accomplished, great optimism over what is ahead and great pride that we are restoring General Motors as America’s standard bearer in the global auto industry.”

According to the New York Times, this morning’s announcement comes just a day after the U.S. Treasury said it sold its last remaining stock in GM, which taxpayers had received after the $49.5 billion bailout. Akerson was a director put in place by the government and was named CEO in 2010. He oversaw the company’s major turnaround in the past few years since the bailout.

Dan Ammann will stay on as CFO until a replacement is found for him. He has also been promoted to president of GM.


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