Mary Barra becomes first female CEO at global automaker
Akerson himself previously noted that a female CEO at one of the Detroit Three was "inevitable."
Mary Barra is set to become the first woman to lead a global automaker. The executive will succeed General Motors' Dan Akerson, a former private equity bigwig who was appointed in 2009 to help lead the company out of bankruptcy. Akerson, 65, will be retiring in January, although rumors have been swirling about his potential replacement for months.
Barra, 51, has been at GM since age 18. Most recently, she has been executive vice president of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. Barra has previously served in various positions within the company over her 33 years, including vice president of Global Manufacturing Engineering, executive director of Competitive Operations Engineering, and vice president of Global Human Resources.
We reported just four weeks ago that Akerson probably wasn't leaving until next year, and that a dedicated search for his replacement - widely believed to be either Barra or President of GM North America Mark Reuss - had not yet begun. In the official press release announcing Barra's appointment, GM notes that Akerson pulled ahead his retirement date after his wife was diagnosed with advanced cancer. That said, the news of Barra taking over isn't entirely shocking, as Akerson himself previously noted that a female CEO at one of the Detroit Three was "inevitable."
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