General Motors names Barra as first female chief

The board of General Motors (GM) has chosen Mary Barra (pictured) to succeed incumbent Dan Akerson as chief executive (CEO).

Barra, who has been at GM since 1980, will be the first female CEO in the male-dominated global car industry. The board also named Theodore (Tim) Solso to take over from Akerson as chairman, splitting the role.

The company said that Akerson, 65, will step down as chairman and CEO on 15 January. He is retiring several months early as his wife was recently diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer.

Under his leadership GM has seen record profits and an end to government ownership.

The news follows the US government's announcement yesterday that it has sold the last of its 31.1m shares in GM. It started with 500m shares in 2010.

Barra, 51, was appointed as a senior vice president at the car makers in February 2011, and in August of this year she was named executive vice president. She commented:

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.

Solso, 66, is the former chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc., and has been a member of the GM board since June 2012.

It was also announced that Dan Ammann has been named company president. Ammann, who is currently executive vice president and chief financial officer, joined GM in 2010.

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