Mary Barra to Bring EE Background to GM CEO Slot

December 10, 2013. Mary Barra, tapped as GM's next CEO, began her career with GM in 1980 as a General Motors Institute (Kettering University) co-op student at the Pontiac Motor Division. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering.

In 1990, Barra graduated with a Masters Degree in business administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business after receiving a GM fellowship in 1988.

Barra had been named senior vice president, global product development, effective February 1, 2011, responsible for the design, engineering, program management, and quality of General Motors vehicles around the world. On August 1, 2013, she assumed responsibility for GM’s Global Purchasing and Supply Chain organization and was named executive vice president, Global Product Development & Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. She is a member of the GM Executive Operations Committee and serves on the Adam Opel AG Supervisory Board.

She had previously been vice president of global human resources. Barra has also served as GM vice president, Global Manufacturing Engineering; plant manager, Detroit Hamtramck Assembly; executive director of competitive operations engineering; and has held several engineering and staff positions.

As CEO Barra will replace Dan Akerson, who guided today’s GM to record profits and improvement in vehicle quality while closing the chapter on government ownership in the company, who will step down as chairman and CEO on Jan. 15, 2014. GM's board also named Theodore (Tim) Solso to succeed Akerson as Chairman.  Solso, 66, is the former chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc., and has been a member of the GM Board since June 2012. Barra will also join the GM board.

Barra serves on the board of directors of General Dynamics and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute.  She is also a member of the Kettering University Board of Trustees and is GM’s key executive for Stanford University and University of California-Berkeley.

She is married with two children and was born December 24, 1961.

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