The naming of General Motors product-development chief Mary Barra to CEO-elect today crashes a glass ceiling in the automobile industry, but experts say the appointment also acknowledges the unique complexities of the business. “It’s a terrific move,” says Dave Cole, former chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, MI, and a longtime industry analyst. As historic as Barra becoming the first female CEO of an automaker might be, Cole says it also signals ...

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