Mary Barra appointed as General Motors chief

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

General Motors' World Headquarters, the Renaissance Center, in Detroit, Michigan.

The United States's largest car manufacturer General Motors today named Mary Barra as its new chief executive.

Barra, 51, will be the first woman to lead a firm in the American auto industry. She has been with General Motors for 33 years, and is currently the global head of product development.

She said in a statement: "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. I’m honored to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed."

She replaces Daniel Akerson, who was appointed by the government as both chief executive and chairman in 2009 during the company's bankruptcy. Akerson plans to stand down on January 15 following his wife's advanced cancer diagnosis.

In a message to employees, he said: "I will leave 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."

Akerson will also relinquish his chairman role, to be replaced by current director Theodore Solso. The company also announced head of finance Daniel Ammann as its new president.

The appointment comes just days after the US government sold the last of its shares in the company, losing around $9 billion on its initial bailout in 2008 that saw 61% of the firm coming under public ownership.

General Motors recovered from their bankruptcy a year after the appointment of Akerson, and re-entered the stock market in November 2010. It remains the largest car manufacturer in the United States, posting sales figures of $152 billion in 2012. It currently produces fifteen brands of vehicle in 37 countries.

Barra holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Kettering University in Flint, Michigan, and was recently listed by Forbes as the 35th most powerful woman in the world.


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