Mary Barra, General Motors Executive Vice President of Global Product Development and Purchasing & Supply Chain, has been elected by the Board of Directors to become the next CEO of the company. She also will also join the GM Board of Directors. Current CEO Dan Akerson still step down as CEO and Chairman on Jan. 15, 2014. A member of SAE International 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,” she says in a GM press release issued this morning. “I’m honored to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed.” In her current position, she is responsible for the design, engineering, program management, and quality of GM vehicles around the world. Barra began her career with GM in 1980 as a General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) co-op student at the Pontiac Motor Division. She graduated with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering. Current GM Board member and former Chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc., Theodore (Tim) Solso, will succeed Akerson as Chairman.