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.

By MSN Money Partner Dec 11, 2013 11:50AM

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.

Dec 11, 2013 12:15PM
She got a $10 billion gift from the American taxpayers - thanks, Barry!
Dec 11, 2013 1:43PM
On the plus side she has automotive engineering experience and likes fast cars which leads to a push for advancing technology. On the minus side she "grew up" at GM and that often leads to stagnation. Time will tell.
Dec 11, 2013 12:30PM
GM just screwed the taxpayers for 10-15 billion. Buy a Ford better car anyway..
Dec 11, 2013 12:31PM
If GM is on such a roll then why did the Government sell it's shares at a 10 billion dollar loss?  If a company was doing so well, wouldn't you hang onto the stock to make money?  Or is it the Governments intention to purposely lose money. Of course, that could be an option.  Ford is the only one that positioned themselves for future profit.  GM and the UAW will be right back asking for another bailout in a year or two. 
Dec 11, 2013 1:53PM
Senor, Then move their as!!ole because they need ones like you, and guess what we dont need people like you just saying
Dec 11, 2013 3:51PM
Good luck to her, but doubt she'll last more than a couple of years. Of course she'll get pushed out by the Good Ole Boys with a huge golden parachute. First thing she should be doing as CEO is find a way to pay back the $10.5 billion loss to the taxpayers from the stock sell. Idiots who did that for why??? For that reason alone I'd NEVER purchase a GM vehicle, that and their vehicles are POS. $45K for a Chevy SS which is a rebadged Australian Holden Commodore!?!?  Shooooot for that amount and buying USA brand only, I'd get either a Lincoln MKZ or Ford Taurus SHO.  Bought a new car 1.5 yrs ago and went with a Hyundai Elantra Limited, fully loaded with more options than a Caddy CTS, at only $23K and was built in the USA by Americans.  Gm= built mostly in Mexico and Canada and soon to be China. I will be hitting one of my local Ford Dealers in the fall to replace my 2005 Mustang with a 2015 Mustang. Looking forward to maybe test driving one with the 300hp Turbo 4 cyl, but will most likely settle for the 305hp V-6. For American brands, Ford is the only way to buy!!
Dec 11, 2013 3:36PM
No GM's for me ever again and I've had lots of them. But they are in debt to the people of this country  and should pay every dime back regardless of it being a shares agreement or a straight out loan. And who has the power in the Washington to sell at such a huge loss ? Should lose his job, but wait no one ever gets fired in Washington.
Dec 11, 2013 12:26PM
GM is making some great cars but there is still quite a bit of old DNA still left in the system. The sonic is an example of making a HUGE step in the right direction. They need to focus on more small efficient cars is my opinion. Also, they need to get rid of some of the bland styling in the middle of the line-up like that malibu. Meh....
Dec 11, 2013 12:35PM
I think she will do fine If she gives the tax payer a free car, since we did Bail them out. Sometimes you have to Feed the hand that bites. O.K. back to reality. I hope they make them better than the past.
Dec 11, 2013 12:16PM
Who cares? I'd never buy a GM car.

Even after the bailout. GM is still making the same ugly overpriced crap!

Anyway, I don't buy American. All my cars are German. Only they know how to make a quality vehicle!

Yuk yuk!
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