GM CEO Akerson to Retire, Mary Barra to Succeed

GM’s Mary Barra will be the first female CEO of any major global automaker when she replaces outgoing CEO Dan Akerson in January.

Just after it was announced that the U.S. Treasury sold the remaining shares of General Motors, GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson announced that he would retire in January 2014. The next GM CEO will be Mary Barra, currently executive vice president of Global Product Development and Purchasing and Supply Chain. Barra was elected by the Board of Directors to become the next CEO and will also join the GM Board. Since Barra will be assuming only the CEO position, Tim Solso, the former CEO of Cummins, has been named to fill the position of GM Chairman.

Akerson has been at General Motors since 2009 and became Chairman and CEO in 2010, just after the company’s bankruptcy and subsequent government bailout. GM says that Akerson was already planning to retire and recently pulled ahead his succession plan due to his wife’s diagnosis with cancer.

Barra will be the first-ever female CEO of any major global automaker after her 33-year career at GM in various manufacturing, engineering, and senior staff positions. We reported earlier this year that Barra was rumored to be on a short list to become the next CEO at GM, as sources said that Barra was held in high esteem by Akerson.

“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,” Barra said in a prepared statement. “I’m honored to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed.”

With this shakeup, numerous other personnel changes at GM will take place early next year. Current executive vice president and president for North America Mark Reuss will take on Barra’s current role as executive vice president of Global Product Development and Purchasing and Supply Chain. Replacing Reuss will be Alan Batey, who is currently senior vice president, Global Chevrolet and U.S. Sales and Marketing. Dan Ammann, currently executive vice president and CFO, will now become GM’s President. Lastly, vice chairman of Corporate Strategy, Business Development, and Global Product Planning Steve Girsky will move to a senior advisor role leading up to his departure from GM in April 2014.

Akerson’s retirement and Barra’s position as CEO will be effective starting January 15, 2014.