Mary Barra first female President of the GM Group
It was in the air because she was since long between the leading candidates, but no one thought would happen so soon. On January 15 Mary Barra, 51 years old, will become the first female President of the General Motors Group and she will also be the first woman to head one of the largest automotive companies in the world, in a general panorama dominated by males.
The surprise is above all on timing. There is no official confirmation, but it seems that the current number one Dan Akerson has decided to leave early the company to stay close to his wife, which was diagnosed a serious illness.
Barra has spent his entire professional career in the Group of Detroit. She joined the company when she was not yet 20 years old (as a technician at the Pontiac's plant) and over time she has carved out spaces increasingly important inside the company. Most recently she led the company’s vehicle-development operations.
Akerson (at the head of the American colossus since 2010) will leave also the role of Director where he will be replaced by Theodore Solso, a member of the board since 2012.
The change at the top from Akerson to Barra has caused a real company earthquake with Steve Girsky (that he was among the candidates along with Mary Barra) that will leave the Group in April 2014. Girsky is currently Vice President and number one of the European activities.
The current Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann will take over the management of international operations, while the actual functions of Mary Barra will be taken by Mark Reuss who will leave his current position as head of North American operations to Alan Batey.