Can a new chief exec keep GM on course?
The carmaker enters the post-bailout era on a roll. Its new boss, Mary Barra, will decide where it goes next.
Earlier this year, General Motors (GM) CEO Dan Akerson predicted that a "car gal" would soon run one of Detroit’s automakers. Less than four months later, it's happening.
Now all eyes are on Mary Barra as she takes the wheel at a critical crossroad in the carmaker's post-bailout journey.
Named Tuesday to be GM's new CEO as of Jan. 15, Barra is the first woman to head a U.S. automaker. She follows Akerson, who led GM through its just-completed federal bailout.
Barra’s ties to GM run deep. Her father worked there for nearly 40 years, and the now-51-year-old started with GM before she turned 20. She’s overseen purchasing and human resources, and won kudos for streamlining GM’s bloated vehicle development and engineering operations.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Barra has a reputation for “speaking her mind” and has clashed with her colleagues. She championed a better design for the Chevrolet Cruze, and as a result, made the car a top seller.
GM is certainly on a roll, thanks to what Bloomberg calls, quote, “some of its best products in a generation.” Its stock, too, has revived, up over 40% this year. It now falls to Barra to keep GM rolling in the same direction.
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