General Motors (GM) Board of Directors on Monday, 4 January, announced Mary Barra as its next Chairman, effective immediately. She succeeds Theodore Solso, who will continue serving as the Board's Lead Independent Director. The first female CEO of the major global automaker, Barra has been serving as CEO of the company since 15 January, 2014.

"At a time of unprecedented industry change, the Board concluded it is in the best interests of the company to combine the roles of Chair and CEO in order to drive the most efficient execution of our plan and vision for the future," said Solso. "With GM consistently delivering on its targets and on track to generate significant value for its shareholders, this is the right time for Mary to assume this role."

"I am honored to serve as Chair of the Board of Directors. With the support of our Board, we will continue to drive shareholder value by improving our core business and leading in the transformation of personal mobility," said Barra.

Prior to being named CEO in 2014, Barra served as executive vice president, global product development, purchasing and supply chain since August 2013, and as senior vice president, global product development since February 2011. She was responsible for the design, engineering, programme management and quality of GM vehicles around the world.

In 1990, Barra graduated with an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business after receiving a GM fellowship in 1988. Barra began her career with GM in 1980 as a General Motors Institute (Kettering University) co-op student at the Pontiac Motor Division. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1985.