National Edition

Companies make CEO changes in U.S. and Canada

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 10 2013 5:35 p.m. MST

In this Jan. 14, 2013, file photo, General Motors Senior Vice President Mary Barra is seen during presentation of the North American Car & Truck of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Barra was named GM CEO on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, making her the first woman to lead a U.S. car company.

Carlos Osorio, Associated Press

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It’s been a big day for CEOs across the United States and Canada.

Among the biggest moves Tuesday was General Motors hiring its first female CEO in Mary Barra.

Barra, who is now the global product development chief for GM, will take over for Dan Akerson, who will be stepping down next month, according to Reuters.

"This is an executive who has a vision of where she wants to take the organization," Akerson said in a conference call, according to Reuters. "Mary is an adaptive personality and one who reacts to change well."

Reuters also reported that Barra will be the fifth CEO in five years for GM since the Obama administration forced out Rick Wagoner in 2009.

In response to the news, USA Today published five things Barra needs to do now that she’s in charge of the global automobile maker. Barra needs to plan to win, fix the European market, make amends with workers, make sensible products and “kill Buick and GMC,” according to reporter Chris Woodyard

“Barra inherits a company fresh from its life-saving bailout by the U.S. government, but one that remains shackled to the past and facing a difficult future in the world auto markets,” wrote Woodyard.

The Associated Press published a list of 23 women who current run Fortune 500 companies in the United States, which includes Barra, Gannett’s Gracia Martore and Marissa Mayer of Yahoo.

Meanwhile in Canada, multiple changes within one company were announced Tuesday.

Lululemon, a major yoga and training apparel company based in Vancouver, hired a new CEO on Monday as current chief Christine Day resigned, according to the Los Angeles Times. The new CEO will be Laurent Potdevin, who is the current president of social enterprise Toms Shoes and will take over as Lululemon's CEO in January.

Similarly, founder Chip Wilson announced he’ll step down from his spot as chairman, according to Forbes. This comes after he infuriated some fans over his comments against women, according to the Los Angeles Times. Wilson said, “some women’s bodies just actually don’t work” for yoga pants, the Times said. He later apologized in a YouTube video that saw the then-CEO become misty-eyed during his apology.

“I’m sorry to have put you all through this,” he said in the video. “For all of you that have made Lululemon what it is today, I ask you to stay in a conversation that is above the fray. I ask you to prove that the culture that you have built cannot be chipped away. Thank you.”

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @hscribner

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