General Motors names purchasing and supply chain leader Mary Barra as its first female CEO

Gurjit Degun
11 December 2013

Mary Barra, executive vice president for global product development and purchasing and supply chain, has been named new CEO of US car manufacturer General Motors from 15 January.

Barra succeeds chairman and CEO Dan Akerson, who is stepping down after his wife was recently diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer.

GM’s first female CEO has worked at the automaker for 33 years, holding a series of manufacturing, engineering, and senior staff positions.

“She is a leader in the company’s ongoing turnaround, revitalising GM’s product development process resulting in the launch of critically acclaimed new products while delivering record product quality ratings and higher customer satisfaction,” said the company 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,” said Barra. “I’m honoured to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed.”

Mark Reuss, executive vice president and president for GM’s North America region, will take over Barra’s previous role. He began his career at GM in 1983. “We’re going to keep the pedal down on GM’s product resurgence and keep winning new customers," he said.

The announcement comes on the same day the company announced it will become a national sales company in Australia and New Zealand. It plans to discontinue vehicle and engine manufacturing and “significantly reduce” its engineering operations in Australia by the end of 2017.

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