Mary Barra Named GM’s New CEO

One day after the U.S. government shed the remainder of its General Motors stock, today GM announced a shuffling of its executive ranks, including Mary Barra as its new CEO.

Effective January 2014, GM’s current CEO Dan Akerson, 65, will step down – a decision that he said was hastened by his wife’s having recently been diagnosed with advanced stage cancer.

Barra, 51, was voted in by the GM board of directors, making her the first female CEO of a global automaker.

She’d started with GM 33 years ago as an intern, and during her career was sent back as a promising employee to earn her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and it would appear GM’s tuition investment is yet paying off.

Mary Barra.

Mary Barra.

During her tenure, Barra has served in numerous roles of high responsibility, and presently she holds the title of executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain.

She has effectively been in charge of GM products for the past 22 months as the automaker continues working toward departing from the aftermath of its bankruptcy and restructuring.

General Motors specifically credits her with “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.”

While industry watchers are wondering what her long-term vision is, and how she may get through some of the automaker’s existing corporate cultural hurdles, Barra benignly said she aims to keep rolling along.

“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.”

And beyond the chief spot, another change of roles was also announced for Dan Ammann, 41, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Ammann 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.

GM said 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.

Replacing Barra is Mark Reuss, 50, executive vice president and president, North America.

And replacing Reuss is Alan Batey, currently senior vice president, Global Chevrolet and U.S. Sales and Marketing.

The company said also that Steve Girsky, 51, vice chairman, Corporate Strategy, Business Development and Global Product Planning is effectively being pushed out.

In polite corporate speak, GM stated Girsky “will move to a senior advisor role until leaving the company in April 2014. He will remain on the GM Board of Directors.”

Commenting on the changing of the guard, Dan Akerson – who was appointed CEO on Sept. 1, 2010 and since 2009 had been a member of its board of directors – said GM is on much better footing, and is prepared to move forward.

“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.”

GM also is portraying its accomplishments, and as a study which was just released asserts, its bankruptcy and restructuring is believed to have saved as much as eight-times the economic cost thhta it would if not bailed out.

“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.”