GM Annual Meeting

Running a Detroit auto company won't be a good ol' boys club forever, at least according to the Chairman of General Motors, Dan Akerson. Speaking at the 2013 Michigan Automotive Summit this week, Akerson said that a female CEO was "inevitable," with some sources suggesting the comment may have been a reference to Mary Barra, GM's Senior Vice President of Global Product Development, one of the executives tipped to be in the running to succeed Akerson when he retires.

"You'll have more women in boardrooms and more women in senior management 10 years from now, at least I hope so," the Chairman said. Barra is leading that charge, as the highest-ranking woman at GM and Forbes Magazine's 35th most powerful woman on the planet, according to TheDetroitBureau.com.

As TDB points out, Barra is one of the few women that has not only broken the glass ceiling in the executive world, she has done so in a male-dominated field – engineering and product planning. Barra's assumption of the top job is far from guaranteed, though, as GM's Mark Reuss is said to have just as good a shot of assuming the CEO mantle when Akerson does retire. Either way, the fact that Barra is understood to be a top contender is a strong sign that the Detroit auto industry is changing.