GM names Mary Barra as CEO, first women to head car company

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Associated Press

Posted on December 10, 2013 at 11:00 AM

DETROIT (AP) — For the first time, a woman will be the head of a major U.S. car company.

General Motors has picked Mary Barra (BAR'-uh) as its next CEO. She's currently the company's product development chief, and she's worked for GM for 33 years.

The company says Barra will replace Dan Akerson (AK'-ur-suhn) in mid-January. According to GM, Akerson is moving up his retirement plans by several months because his wife is battling advanced cancer.

For nearly three years, Barra has held what many say is the most important job in the company -- senior vice president for global product development. She's in charge of design, engineering and quality of all of GM's vehicles across the globe.

Under her direction, the company has rolled out brawny new full-size pickup trucks and the Chevrolet Impala full-size car, which earned the highest score for a sedan in testing by Consumer Reports. She also led development of the new Chevrolet Corvette.

A University of Michigan business professor, Erik Gordon, says Barra's appointment should help GM because of the number of women who make or influence car-buying decisions.

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179-a-15-(Dan Akerson (AK'-ur-suhn), chairman and CEO, General Motors, in teleconference)-"supply chain management"-GM chairman and CEO Dan Akerson says Mary Barra is a 33-year GM veteran and has great credentials to take the lead. ((note: Barra is pronounced BAR'-uh)) (10 Dec 2013)

<<CUT *179 (12/10/13)££ 00:15 "supply chain management"

181-a-13-(Dan Akerson (AK'-ur-suhn), chairman and CEO, General Motors, in teleconference)-"do product development"-GM chairman and CEO Dan Akerson says Mary Barra already has had a huge positive impact on the company. ((note: Barra is pronounced BAR'-uh)) (10 Dec 2013)

<<CUT *181 (12/10/13)££ 00:13 "do product development"

GRAPHICSBANK: Mary Barra headshot, as General Motors Senior Vice President, Global Product Development, over logo, partial graphic (10 Dec 2013)

GRAPHICSBANK: General Motors logo, on texture, partial graphic (10 Dec 2013)

APPHOTO NY110: FILE - In this March 6, 2013 file photo, General Motors chairman and CEO Daniel Akerson speaks at the IHS CERAWEEK energy conference in Houston. A person briefed on the matter on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 said General Motors' board has named product development chief Mary Barra as the company's next CEO. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File) (6 Mar 2013)

<<APPHOTO NY110 (03/06/13)££

APPHOTO NY109: FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2012 file photo, Mary Barra, General Motors Senior Vice President, Global Product Development, speaks at the debut of the 2013 Buick Encore at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. A person briefed on the matter on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 said General Motors' board has named Barra as the company's next CEO. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) (10 Jan 2012)

<<APPHOTO NY109 (01/10/12)££

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