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From shop floor to top floor: new GM head Mary Barra

by AirTalk®

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Mary Barra, who was just named the new CEO of General Motors, speaks onstage at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit on October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. Paul Morigi/Getty Images for FORTUNE

General Motors has named product development chief Mary Barra as the company’s new CEO—making her the first woman to head a major U.S. car company.

RELATED: General Motors' first female chief executive shatters glass ceiling

Barra, 51, has a long history with GM, beginning with the company as an electrical engineering co-op student in 1980. She rose steadily through the GM ranks since, working as a plant manager, an executive director of engineering, head of the GM’s human resources operations and other posts.

The announcement of Barra’s new role comes one day after the U.S. Treasury Department announced it has sold the last of its remaining 31.1 million GM shares. It started with 500 million shares in 2010.

Barra is the daughter of a GM tool-and-die maker who earned her MBA from Stanford University. She was one of a handful of internal candidates considered to take over for CEO Dan Akerson.

What do you think of Barra’s rise within GM’s ranks? What will the first woman running a major automaker do differently?


Jim Tankersley, Economic Policy Correspondent, The Washington Post

Keith Naughton, Bloomberg News Autos Reporter  

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