Mary Barra, executive vice president of global product development and purchasing and supply chain, will take over as CEO of General Motors, becoming the first female CEO in the global auto industry. Dan Akerson,current chairman and CEO of General Motors, will retire on January 15.

The news comes only a day after the automaker and U.S. Treasury announced the government has sold off the remaining GM stock. GM credits Akerson’s leadership as crucial in turning the company around during the government bailout. Akerson joined GM in 2009 as a member of the board and was named chairman and CEO in September 2010.

“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 release.

Barra, who was elected to the position by the Board of Directors, will also take a seat on the GM Board. In our 2013 Power List, Barra finished 20th out of 50, up from the number 41 spot the prior year, for “Promising Improvements For Cadillac, Small Chevys.”

Theodore (Tim) Solso will succeed Akerson as Chairman. Before joining GM, Solso was chairman and CEO of Cummins. With the announcement, other GM executives have been shuffled around the company. Dan Ammann, executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO), was named company president. His duties include managing the company’s regional operations with global Chevrolet and Cadillac brands. GM financial will also report to him. With a replacement yet to be named, Ammann will retain CFO duties until fourth-quarter and 2013 full-year results are released in February.

Mark Reuss, head of GM North American operations, will replace Barra as executive vice president of global product development and purchasing and supply chain. Reuss oversaw the launch of the Cadillac ATS, Chevrolet Corvette, Impala, and Silverado models.

“The driver’s seat of designing and engineering the strongest product line up in GM’s history is the best seat to have,” said Reuss, in a release. “We’re going to keep the pedal down on GM’s product resurgence and keep winning new customers.”

Alan Batey, responsible for Chevrolet’s “Find New Roads” advertising campaign, will move from his current position as senior vice president of global Chevrolet and U.S. sales and marketing to replace Reuss as head of North America.

Although he'll be leaving GM in April 2014, Steve Girsky, vice chairman of corporate strategy, business development, and global product planning, will become a senior advisor. Girsky is responsible for several GM technologies including OnStar.

Although the 65-year-old Akerson was already planning his retirement, he moved his time frame up several months due to his wife’s recent diagnosis of cancer.

Source: GM