GM taps new CEO

General Motors announced on Tuesday it was appointing Mary Barra its new chief executive officer following the retirement of its current leader, Dan Akerson.

Akerson said he was retiring after three years at the helm of the automaker, saying he was proud of the company’s turnaround since it received a $50 billion bailout from the federal government in 2008 and 2009.

“I will leave with great satisfaction in what we have accomplished, great optimism over what is ahead and great pride that we are restoring General Motors as America’s standard bearer in the global auto industry,” Akerson said in a statement.

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The announcement comes a day after the Treasury Department announced it had sold the last of its stocks in GM, which were purchased when the federal government bailed out the company.

The bailout, which was controversial at the time it was issued, resulted in the federal government recouping $39 billion of the $49.5 billion it sank into the Detroit-based company, though critics point out the Treasury Department absorbed a $10 billion loss in the transaction.

Barra, 51, said she was excited to take the wheel of a stronger GM.

“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,” Barra said in a statement. “I’m honored to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed.”

Barra had been GM’s executive vice president of global product development, purchasing and supply chain.

The company said she would also join its Board of Directors.

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