Akerson himself previously noted that a female CEO at one of the Detroit Three was "inevitable."

Mary Barra is set to become the first woman to lead a global automaker. The executive will succeed General Motors' Dan Akerson, a former private equity bigwig who was appointed in 2009 to help lead the company out of bankruptcy. Akerson, 65, will be retiring in January, although rumors have been swirling about his potential replacement for months.

Barra, 51, has been at GM since age 18. Most recently, she has been executive vice president of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. Barra has previously served in various positions within the company over her 33 years, including vice president of Global Manufacturing Engineering, executive director of Competitive Operations Engineering, and vice president of Global Human Resources.

We reported just four weeks ago that Akerson probably wasn't leaving until next year, and that a dedicated search for his replacement - widely believed to be either Barra or President of GM North America Mark Reuss - had not yet begun. In the official press release announcing Barra's appointment, GM notes that Akerson pulled ahead his retirement date after his wife was diagnosed with advanced cancer. That said, the news of Barra taking over isn't entirely shocking, as Akerson himself previously noted that a female CEO at one of the Detroit Three was "inevitable."

For his part, Reuss, 50, will slot into Barra's role, giving up his position as executive vice president and president of North American operations.

In other appointment news, Dan Ammann, 41, GM's CFO and executive vice president, has been named its president, with Chevrolet and Cadillac reporting directly to him, as well as GM Financial.

For the rest of the details, check out the official press release below.
Show full PR text
Dan Akerson to Retire as GM CEO in January 2014
Mary Barra to Become Next CEO; Dan Ammann Named President


DETROIT – General Motors today announced that Dan Akerson, who guided today's GM to record profits and dramatic improvement in vehicle quality while closing the chapter on government ownership in the company, will step down as chairman and CEO on Jan. 15, 2014.

Mary Barra, 51, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, was elected by the Board of Directors to become the next CEO of the company. Barra will also join the GM Board.

Akerson, 65, pulled ahead his succession plan by several months after his wife was recently diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer.

The Board also named Theodore (Tim) Solso to succeed Akerson as Chairman. Solso, 66, is the former chairman and CEO of Cummins, Inc., and has been a member of the GM Board since June 2012.

"I will leave with great satisfaction in what we have accomplished, great optimism over what is ahead and great pride that we are restoring General Motors as America's standard bearer in the global auto industry," Akerson said in a message to employees.

With 33 years of experience at GM, Barra has risen through a series of manufacturing, engineering, and senior staff positions. She is a leader in the company's ongoing turnaround, revitalizing GM's product development process resulting in the launch of critically acclaimed new products while delivering record product quality ratings and higher customer satisfaction.

"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 honored to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed."

Dan Ammann, 41, executive vice president and chief financial officer, was named company president and will assume responsibility for managing the company's regional operations around the world. The global Chevrolet and Cadillac brand organizations and GM Financial will also report to Ammann.

Ammann joined GM in 2010 where his first assignment was to manage GM's initial public offering. As CFO, he has led a transformation of GM's finance operations into a world-class organization. He also led the strategy to rebuild the company's captive finance capability through the successful establishment and growth of GM Financial.

"We have a significant opportunity to further integrate and optimize our operations to deliver even better results," said Ammann. "While we have made good progress, we still have much work ahead of us to realize GM's full potential."

Ammann will retain CFO responsibilities at least through the release of the company's fourth quarter and full-year 2013 results in early February 2014. His replacement as CFO will be named later.

Mark Reuss, 50, executive vice president and president, North America, will replace Barra as executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. Under Reuss' watch, GM's North America region has produced consistent profits and improved margins during a product renaissance that includes the launch of award-winning cars and trucks such as the Cadillac ATS, Chevrolet Corvette, Impala and Silverado pickup.

"The driver's seat of designing and engineering the strongest product line up in GM's history is the best seat to have," said Reuss. "We're going to keep the pedal down on GM's product resurgence and keep winning new customers."

Alan Batey, currently senior vice president, Global Chevrolet and U.S. Sales and Marketing, will replace Reuss and is named Executive Vice President and President, North America. Batey, 50, joined GM's Vauxhall operation in 1979 and held several sales, service and marketing positions around the world. In his current position, he has developed the Chevrolet brand's Find New Roads advertising campaign and has overseen a sweeping upgrade of retail sales and service operations at hundreds of U.S. dealerships.

"North America is the foundation of the GM turnaround story and I'm honored to help continue what Mark started," said Batey. "We remain committed to delivering the world's best retail experience to match the world's best cars and trucks."

The company also announced that Steve Girsky, 51, vice chairman, Corporate Strategy, Business Development and Global Product Planning, will move to a senior advisor role until leaving the company in April 2014. He will remain on the GM Board of Directors.

Girsky led GM's turnaround plan for Europe that has put that region's operations back on a path to profitability. He has also put GM's OnStar unit at the forefront of in-vehicle connectivity and helped create GM Ventures to speed the commercialization of new technologies in GM vehicles.

"I share Dan's pride for what the company has accomplished and his sense of optimism for a bright future," said Girsky. "This team is united in its commitment to building on the foundation that we have established."

Under Akerson's leadership, GM made swift progress as the company transformed from being majority owned by U.S. Treasury to being publicly traded and investment grade rated.

"My goals as CEO were to put the customer at the center of every decision we make, to position GM for long term success and to make GM a company that America can be proud of again," Akerson said. "We are well down that path, and I'm certain that our new team will keep us moving in that direction."

Akerson was named GM Chairman and CEO on September 1, 2010. He joined GM in 2009 as a member of its Board of Directors. Since the company's November 2010 Initial Public Offering, GM has recorded 15 consecutive quarters of profitability, has earned this year the best overall initial vehicle quality scores of any auto manufacturer, and has re-invested nearly $9 billion and created or retained more than 25,000 jobs at its U.S plants

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well, generally she seems to be well respected. I assume she has maintained her loyalty to GM because she has not left to another company. People worried about her being a GM lifer, many of the worst decisions by the company when she was in her 20/30s, we're not made by her. She was too far down the todem pole.. Let's give her a shot, a woman always sees things differently, and in this business that's what GM needs. I love how Mark carries himself in interviews and was my choice, but he will still be around as a product guy who loves cars and GM.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't know much about Mary Barra but I do know one thing, she said if she became CEO there would be "no more crappy cars". I like that! Congrats to Mary and best of luck!
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yogi would be proud.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good Luck, Mary! Hope you do what Dan could not: whip GM's corporate structure and decision-making into shape.
      • 1 Year Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wonder if Ford will try to pouch Mark Reuss from GM to takeover Alan Mulally's position, after he retires? With all due respect to Mark Fields and others at Ford, Reuss may be a better choice for the position at Ford, with the bonus of getting him away from GM.
        • 1 Year Ago
        I think Mark Fields is perfectly fine. What makes you think Mark Reuss is a better fit than Mark Fields?
          • 1 Year Ago
          There are three primary reasons why I think Mark Reuss may be a better choice for Ford's CEO than Mark Fields: First, Asia; Fields may have run Mazda for a few years, but Reuss, who ran Holden for a very brief time before GM's bankruptcy, helped restructure GM and helped plan GM's successful entry into China and the rest of the Asian market. Ford needs to do better in this growing market. Second, Lincoln; Fields, while running Ford's Premier Auto Group, limited platform and technology sharing for the unsound reason of "brand dilution". For example, the Lincoln LS used a "hobbled" version of the Jaguar S-Type platform and engine simply to avoid possible cannibalization of S-Type sales, despite the fact the two cars attracted very different buyer demographics. Also, I believe Fields was among those at Ford that chose to move the LS's successor, the MKS, to the D3 "Taurus" platform and to abandon the LS platform, which lives on today under the Jaguar XF. Lincoln has never been able to recover from this mistake and has left Ford without a truly competitive brand in the profitable luxury-minded Chinese market, let alone here in the US. Ford needs Lincoln to be remade into a true luxury brand again with high unit profits per sale and I can't honestly see Fields being the man to do it, since he hasn't done anything for Lincoln in the past few years beyond pushing "badge-engineering" Fords. Here, Reuss has a far better grasp on the Chinese market and of the true value of separating brands on a far more fundamental basis. Within GM, Reuss has been pushing for more rear-drive platforms beyond Cadillac, like with the Chevy Code 130R Concept, and at Ford, he could push Lincoln back into relevance by ending the plague of obvious badge-engineering occurring at Lincoln. Reuss might be the man who could finally make the economically-sound and greatly needed Mustang-based Lincoln sedan and possibly a 2 or 4-door coupe a reality, which could be enough to draw potential customers into Lincoln dealerships. Third, Opportunity; Reuss was being groomed for the CEO position for years and put in a lot of time and effort to be in this position at GM, but obviously he didn't get it. I don't think he wants to wait around possibly 20 years for Barra to retire or for her to be pushed out in some sort of internal drama within GM. If given the chance, Reuss would be far more motivated if given the opportunity to be CEO to be a success than anyone already in Ford's management. Like Mulally before him, Reuss could be the outsider that can help Ford keep moving forward and to help them avoid falling back into the same complacency that nearly bankrupted the whole company. Unfortunately, complacency still plagues Lincoln and a further shake-up will need to be done. I think Reuss could be the right person at the right time for Ford. And if Reuss were to turn down such an offer, there's always Ed Welburn.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Get rid of all the bean counters and start using Engineers. and GM will again thrive!!!!!
      • 1 Year Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      Stephanie Payne
      • 1 Year Ago
      It looks like a bit of a demotion for Mr. Reuss.
      Seal Rchin
      • 1 Year Ago
      Right............so Government sold the stock yesterday and today we hear this. Please we all know who made the call on hiring her. She is a typical corporate lifer, works in the same place for years and years and doesn't really know anything about the outside world...................if you think GM was in trouble before.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        And do you know her at all? Sure she has been at GM all of her career. All that means is that she knows the organization - what's good, what's bad and what needs to change.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        Seal - are you never happy? I get that those black helicopters never leave your head but really man go up to Boulder, Colorado and hug a tree or something. Take a breath.
          Seal Rchin
          • 1 Year Ago
          Just pointing out that she is a lifer, people who know what they are doing move up and around the industry. How do you know what Toyota or Ford does if all you know is how GM does it. I worked in a few places and we had plenty of lifers, not one of them was in a management because to be up there you have to know what is taking place in the industry at large. This lady never moved, she has no idea what other companies do. Instead of telling me to hug a tree why don't you find a corporate job and see how the real world works. I have news for you, length of tenure means NOTHING. This is not your typical union job where you come in punch in and punch out and get your annual 3% and move up based on how long you have been there and not merit. GM is not officially GOVERNMENT MOTORS, we all know why she got the job.
          • 1 Year Ago
          Why did she get the job then?
      • 1 Year Ago
      But who's going to be making sandwiches and running copies at GM headquarters now?
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