New York (AFP) – General Motors Tuesday announced that company veteran Mary Barra would succeed Dan Akerson as chief executive, becoming the first woman to lead the largest U.S. automaker.
Barra, 51, currently executive vice president for global product development, purchasing and supply chain, will assume the post on January 15.
The announcement came just one day after the U.S. Treasury sold its last shares in General Motors, closing the books on a 2008 bailout executed amid the financial crisis. GM and fellow U.S. automakers Ford and Chrysler have gained on surging auto sales throughout 2013.
Barra has worked at GM for 33 years, rising through a series of manufacturing, engineering and senior staff positions. A news release characterized her as “a leader in the company’s ongoing turnaround.”
Tuesday’s announcement unveiled a series of other significant executive changes, including news that board member Theodore Solso would succeed Akerson as chairman.
Dan Ammann, currently executive vice president and chief financial officer, will become president. The global Chevrolet and Cadillac brands will report to him. A replacement as CFO will be named later.
Akerson, 65, accelerated the succession plan by several months after his wife was recently diagnosed with “an advanced stage of cancer,” the company said.