NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- General Motors GM in a 24-hour span shed the "government motors" moniker and named its next CEO, but the resurgent automaker still must navigate a host of potholes if it is to stay on course and complete its turnaround.
Detroit-based GM on Tuesday named Mary Barra, head of product development, purchasing and supply chain management, to replace CEO Dan Akerson. The automaker also promoted CFODan Ammannto president, and said one-time Cummins Inc. CEO Theodore Solso would replace Akerson as chairman of the board.
The announcement came just hours after the U.S. Treasury said it has sold its remaining shares in GM, closing a difficult chapter in the automaker's history that included the government providing $49.5 billion in funding to help GM survive a 2009 bankruptcy restructuring.
Barra, a 33-year GM veteran who has steadily advanced up the corporate ladder after starting as an 18-year-old intern at the company, will take over on Jan. 15 when Akerson formally steps down to be with his ailing wife. Barra is an engineer by training, a significant departure for a company that in recent decades has mostly been run by executives with a background in finance.
Barclays plcanalyst Brian A. Johnson in a note said that having an engineer in charge should benefit the automaker, comparing her to bothFord Motor Co.'s much praised CEO as well as one of GM's most famous former executives.
"We see Barra as more of a 'process architect' than a 'car guy (or gal)' - not a bad thing considering the success ofAlan Mulallyin that role at Ford, or the original success of Alfred Sloan at GM in the 1920s-50s," Johnson wrote. He said that the elevation of Ammann, who is popular among investors, should minimize any market concerns about the moves.