GM CEO: top woman executive a potential successor

Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:29pm EDT
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Akerson, who joined the company as it emerged from bankruptcy, has said he would prefer the next CEO to come from within GM but the board would decide. He gave no time frame for his exit and said he would stay as long as he was making a contribution and the board wanted him.

Analysts say other candidates to succeed him include Vice Chairman Steve Girsky, 50, and North American operations chief Mark Reuss, 48.

Explaining why he wants to ensure that women at the company are in positions beyond "softer" jobs such as human resources, he pointed out that he has two daughters and also said his mother, who worked as a cashier at a grocery store and rose to become a manager, had a greater impact on him than his father.

Akerson said women make up 20 to 25 percent of GM's top 50 executives. "Four of 12 of our directors are women, one of our women runs Europe and some of our biggest plants are run by women," he said. "Twenty percent of our technical staff are women. We seek women with engineering degrees."

Barra joined GM in 1980 and has had various manufacturing and engineering jobs and was vice president in charge of global human resources. She was named senior vice president in charge of global product development in February last year and in January was appointed to the supervisory board of GM's struggling Opel European unit.

(Reporting by Nick Tate, Writing by Ben Klayman; Editing by Michael Watson)

File photo of Mary Barra, General Motors Co's global product development chief
. REUTERS/Mike Cassese