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GM names Mary Barra first female chief

Keywords: Tags  General Motors, Mary Barra, Daniel F. Akerson, Marissa Mayer, Yahoo, Meg Whitman, Hewlett-Packard, Nathan Laliberte

NEW YORK — General Motors Co. has appointed Mary Barra as its next chief executive officer—the first female to head a global automaker.

Barra, who currently is executive vice president of global product development, purchasing and supply chain, will replace Daniel F. Akerson when he steps down as chairman and chief executive officer Jan. 15.

As a leader of a major U.S. corporation, Barra will join an elite group of women that includes Marissa Mayer at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo! Inc. and Meg Whitman at Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packard Co.

Barra, 51, began her career at GM in 1980. She has overseen GM global vehicle development since February 2011 after previously serving as vice president of global manufacturing engineering, manager of the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant and executive director of competitive operations engineering, as well as holding several engineering and staff positions.

Detroit-based GM said Barra has been instrumental in the company’s recovery since its Chapter 11 reorganization in June 2009, revitalizing GM’s product development process 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," Barra said. "I’m honored to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed."

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