GM is the largest automaker by revenue, and while the role has been previously considered a "man's job," times have changed and Barra, 51, said there are many women in leadership roles at the company. Barra has been at GM for 33 years and is currently the senior vice president of global product development.
Prior to this role, she worked as head of human resources. She has an engineering background, and was exposed to the auto industry early as her father also worked for GM as a die maker for Pontiac. She started working in the industry before she was 20.
"Putting a car on the road is a team sport," she told Bloomberg in a July interview, adding that her position as senior VP allowed her to focus on putting the best products on the road, and continue to work in a team environment.
The news comes as GM announced Monday that government stakes have been entirely pulled out of the company, paving a new road ahead for Barra.