General Motors has promoted product development chief Mary Barra to the post of chief executive.
She replaces Daniel Akerson, and is the first woman to run a US carmaker.
Mr Akerson, who is also currently chairman of the company, will leave both of his posts in mid-January. The BBC reports his wife was recently diagnosed with advanced cancer.
Ms Barra has been in charge of design and engineering, and before that was head of human resources at the company.
She joined GM as a student in 1980.