TodayApril 16, 2022

Mary Barra becomes new CEO of GM, Akerson stepping down, US out of GM

The first woman CEO of General Motors

What a crazy week this has been for General Motors (GM). First, the U.S. Government sold all its shares of General Motors and it no longer owns a part of General Motors. The government is said to have lost $11 billion by selling the stock when they did.

According to General Motors website, Mary Barra will take over for Dan Akerson as CEO of General Motors. Here is the press release:

General Motors today announced that Dan Akerson, who guided today’s GM to record profit and dramatic improvement in vehicle quality while closing the chapter on government ownership in the company, will step down as chairman and CEO on Jan. 15, 2014.

GM first female CEO

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 of his succession plan by several months after his wife was recently diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer. (Our thoughts and prayers to his wife)

The 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.

Driving the Nation
Solso is the new Chairman of the Board

“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.”

Dan Ammann, 41, executive vice president and chief financial officer, was named company president and will assume responsibility for managing the company’s regional operations around the world. The global Chevrolet and Cadillac brand organizations and GM Financial will also report to Ammann.

Ammann joined GM in 2010 where his first assignment was to manage GM’s initial public offering. As CFO, he has led a transformation of GM’s finance operations into a world-class organization. He also led the strategy to rebuild the company’s captive finance capability through the successful establishment and growth of GM Financial.

Driving the Nation
Amman is the new President

“We have a significant opportunity to further integrate and optimize our operations to deliver even better results,” said Ammann. “While we have made good progress, we still have much work ahead of us to realize GM’s full potential.”

Ammann will retain CFO responsibilities at least through the release of the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2013 results in early February 2014. His replacement as CFO will be named later.

Mark Reuss, 50, executive vice president and president, North America, will replace Barra as executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing, and Supply Chain. Under Reuss watch, GM North America region has produced consistent profits and improved margins during a product renaissance that includes the launch of award-winning cars and trucks such as the Cadillac ATS, Chevrolet Corvette, Impala, and Silverado pickup.

Driving the Nation
Reuss replaces Barra as EVP of global product Development

“The driver’s seat of designing and engineering the strongest product line up in GM’s history is the best seat to have,” said Reuss. “We’re going to keep the pedal down on GM’s product resurgence and keep winning new customers.”

Alan Batey, currently senior vice president, Global Chevrolet, and U.S. Sales and Marketing, will replace Reuss and is named Executive Vice President and President, North America. Batey, 50, joined GM Vauxhall operation in 1979 and held several sales, service, and marketing positions around the world. In his current position, he has developed the Chevrolet brand’s Find New Roads advertising campaign and has overseen a sweeping upgrade of retail sales and service operations at hundreds of U.S. dealerships.

“North America is the foundation of the GM turnaround story and I’m honored to help continue what Mark started,” said Batey. “We remain committed to delivering the world’s best retail experience to match the world’s best cars and trucks.”

Driving the Nation
Batey replaces Reuss as Executive Vice President and President, North America

The company also announced that Steve Girsky, 51, vice chairman, Corporate Strategy, Business Development, and Global Product Planning, will move to a senior advisory role until leaving the company in April 2014. He will remain on the GM Board of Directors.

Girsky led GM’s turnaround plan for Europe that has put that region’s operations back on a path to profitability. He has also put GMs OnStar unit at the forefront of in-vehicle connectivity and helped create GM Ventures to speed the commercialization of new technologies in GM vehicles.

“I share Dan’s pride for what the company has accomplished and his sense of optimism for a bright future,” said Girsky. “This team is united in its commitment to building on the foundation that we have established.”

Driving the Nation
Girsky is out as of April 2014

Under Akerson’s leadership, GM made swift progress as the company transformed from being majority-owned by the 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.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.