General Motors has announced that Dan Akerson, who guided today’s GM to record profits and dramatic improvement in vehicle quality while closing the chapter on government ownership in the company, will step down as chairman and CEO on January 15, 2014.
Mary Barra, 51, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, was elected by the Board of Directors to become the next CEO of the company. Barra will also join the GM Board.
Akerson, 65, pulled ahead his succession plan by several months after his wife was recently diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer.
“I will leave with great satisfaction in what we have accomplished, great optimism over what is ahead and great pride that we are restoring General Motors as America’s standard bearer in the global auto industry,” Akerson said in a message to employees.
With 33 years of experience at GM, Barra has risen through a series of manufacturing, engineering, and senior staff positions. She is a leader in the company’s ongoing turnaround, 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.
“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.”
Under Akerson’s leadership, GM made swift progress as the company transformed from being majority owned by U.S. Treasury to being publicly traded and investment grade rated.
“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.”
Akerson was named GM Chairman and CEO on September 1, 2010. He joined GM in 2009 as a member of its Board of Directors. 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.