GM's new CEO Mary Barra speaks onstage at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit on October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC.
GM's new CEO Mary Barra speaks onstage at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit on October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. - 
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General Motors announced this morning that Mary Barra, GM's current head of global product development, will succeed Daniel Akerson as chief executive officer when he retires next month.

Barra will be the first woman to lead a major auto company. Barra is a veteran of GM. She got her start on the factory floor as an intern 33 years ago, and holds an MBA from Stanford University. Barra is considered a major player in GM's turnaround since its bailout by the federal government in 2009.

Micki Maynard covers the automotive industry for Forbes, and tells Marketplace Morning Report about Barra's career and the challenges that await her as CEO of one of the world's largest auto companies. Click the audio player above to hear more.

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Follow David Brancaccio at @DavidBrancaccio