General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) appointed a new leader to replace Dan Akerson whom will be retiring from his position as chairman and chief executive officer of the automaker on January 15, 2014.

General Motors

General Motors says farewell to Akerson

Mary Barra, the current executive vice president, global product development, purchasing and supply chain of General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) was chosen by the board of directors to serve as the next CEO of the automaker. She will also join the board of the company.

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General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) appointed Theodore ‘Tim’ Solso to serve as chairman. Solso has been a member of the board of the company since 2012, and he was the former chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc (NYSE:CMI).

According to the automaker, Akerson arranged his succession plan ahead by several months after his wife was diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer. He will be leaving General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) with record profits with significant improvements in the quality of the company’s vehicles. In addition, the United States government also exited its position in the automaker.

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In his message to the employees of General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), Akerson said, “I will leave with great satisfaction in what we have accomplished, great optimism over what is ahead, and great pride that we as restoring General Motors as America’s standard bearer in the global auto industry.”

Akerson led General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) in transforming it from being majority owned by the United States Treasury into a publicly traded and invest grade rated company. According to him, “My goal 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.” He added, “We are well down that path, and I’m certain that our new team will keep us moving in that direction.”

Profile of new CEO Barra

Barra has been working at General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) for 33 years, handling different positions from manufacturing, engineering, and senior staff positions. She is one of the executives leading the turnaround efforts and revitalizing the product development process of the automaker, which resulted to the launching of critically acclaimed new vehicles while delivering record product quality ratings and higher customer satisfaction.

In a statement, Barra said, “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. I’m honored to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed.”

General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) also named Dan Ammann, executive vice president and CFO as president. He will be responsible for managing the regional operations of the automaker worldwide. Amman will also supervise the global Chevrolet and Cadillac brands as well as GM Financial. He will continue to perform his duties as CFO until the fourth quarter and full-year 2013 results in early February 2014. The company will name his successor at a later date.