Back in September, GM CEO Dan Akerson told a leadership diversity conference that it's "inevitable" a woman would eventually lead one of the Detroit Three automakers. Today, GM made that official. Mary Barra, who heads up global product development, purchasing and supply chains, will succeed Akerson after he steps down on Jan. 15, 2014.
Barra, 51, was elected by GM's board of directors to become the automaker's next CEO; she'll also join the board. The news comes a day after the federal government sold its remaining stock in the automaker. The Detroit News reports other candidates for the position included GM North America President Mark Reuss, Vice Chairman Steve Girsky and CFO Dan Ammann — all men.
It appears GM, whose brands include Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC, will be the only Detroit automaker with a female chief executive for some time. Ford's Mark Fields is the heir apparent to CEO Alan Mulally, and Chrysler's Sergio Marchionne has no plans to leave anytime soon.