In something of a surprise move, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson will announce his resignation today, and name Mary Barra as his successor, making her the first woman to pilot the auto giant, according to multiple reports. Barra started at GM as an engineering co-op student way back in 1980, and has since risen to product development chief, according to the AP. Bloomberg adds that she started out at the same Pontiac plant her father worked at for 39 years.
Barra got the job heading up vehicle development in early 2011, less than six months into Akerson's tenure, and oversaw, among other vehicles, the Chevy Impala, the first US sedan to take top Consumer Reports honors in 20 years, and the Cadillac CTS, Motor Trend's car of the year. The move comes immediately after the Treasury sold its remaining shares in the automaker, and Businessweek thinks that, coupled with Akerson's departure, signals the end of an era. Akerson and Uncle Sam took GM from the brink of annihilation to 15 straight profitable quarters.