General Motors Corp. has named Mary Barra its CEO, effective Jan. 15, 2014. Barra, 51, who had been the firm’s executive vice president for global product development, will be the first woman to serve as CEO of any major U.S. automaker.

Barra was GM’s first female “car czar,” overseeing design, engineering, program management and quality-improvement efforts for the company’s 11 worldwide brands, NBC News reports. In November, Fortune magazine named Barra the Most Powerful Woman in the Automotive Industry and was No. 29 overall on the magazine’s Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Business list. Barra has worked her way to the top over a 33-year career in the auto industry.

Read NBC News’ report on Barra’s new role here. Then share your opinions with others. How significant is Mary Barra’s ascent to the CEO office at GM?  Step up. Join the conversation.

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