General Motors (GM) has named Mary Barra, a qualified electrical engineer, as its next CEO.
She will become the first woman to head up a US car company.
Current CEO Dan Akerson, 65, is stepping down as chairman and CEO of the Detroit-based car manufacturer on 15 January, after three years in the role. GM said that he is leaving the company earlier than planned after his wife was recently diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer.
Barra, 51, who is currently executive vice president of global product development, purchasing and supply chain, will also join the GM board.
Barra started at GM at the age of 18 to fund her tuition fees for her electrical engineering degree. She has been at GM for 33 years, and held positions in engineering, manufacturing and senior management. According to GM, Barra has been instrumental in the company's turnaround, revitalising its product development process.
Barra will be replaced by Mark Reuss, executive vice president and president of GM's North America division.
Theodore (Tim) Solso, who has been a member of the GM board since June 2012, will succeed Akerson as chairman, while Dan Ammann, executive vice president and chief financial officer, has been named company president.
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