General Motors CEO to attend State of the Union

General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who is the first woman to lead a U.S. car company, will sit in First Lady Michelle Obama’s box at the State of the Union.

The White House announced the selection of Barra, who ascended to the top GM job this month, in a blog post on Tuesday.

ADVERTISEMENT
Barra was GM’s executive vice president of global product development, purchasing and supply chain before becoming its chief executive. She is now the first woman to take the wheel of a U.S. auto company, and just the 23rd to be placed in charge of a Fortune 500 company, according to a list compiled by the magazine.

GM is the seventh-largest company on Fortune's 500 list, making Barra the highest-ranking female chief executive in the country. She took over the top spot from Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, who ran unsuccessfully for California governor in 2010.

The White House said Barra and other guests of the first lady will be continuing a trend of spotlighting “extraordinary Americans who exemplify the themes and ideals laid out in the State of the Union Address” that first began under former President Reagan.