Dan Akerson to step down as General Motors chairman and CEO, Mary Barra to take his place

(WXYZ) - General Motors announced today that Dan Akerson will step down as chairman and CEO on January 15, 2014. 

According to a press release by the company 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 sped up his succession plan 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.

Akerson guided today's GM to record profits and dramatic improvement in vehicle quality while closing the chapter on government ownership in the company.

With 33 years of experience at GM, Barra has risen through a series of manufacturing, engineering, and senior staff positions.

"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.

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