General Motors announced today that Mary Barra will take over as the company's new chairman and CEO in the new year, becoming the first ever woman to run a "Big 3" American automaker, effectively killing your "car guy" stereotype.
Tuesday morning, CNBC, Bloomberg and the Associated Press reported current chairman and CEO Dan Akerson will step down, leaving the position open for Barra, 51, the company's current executive vice president of global product development, to take his role. Barra becomes General Motors' first female executive, and the first female to run one of Detroit's "Big 3" — General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler.
GM confirmed Akerson, who was appointed by the Obama administration in 2010 after the U.S. government bailed out the automotive industry, will leave the company Jan. 15, 2014. News of the turnover comes less than 24 hours after the U.S. federal government sold the last of its stake in the company.
Barra is not your typical automotive executive, but her resume is unparalleled within the company. An engineer by trade, Barra has been with GM for 33 years, through a number of positions, including in human resources. For the last two years she's been responsible for the design and quality of all GM vehicles. The company's successful rebounding profits? A lot of that was Barra's hard work. She's one of Fortune's 50 most powerful women in business.
Barra doesn't drive a muscle car, though she has entertained thoughts of buying a restored Camero. But she won't because "it would be a dangerous temptation for her teenage son," Bloomberg Businessweek reported earlier this year.