DETROIT (WWJ) – During his speech, he made reference to Mary Barra, the new CEO of General Motors:

” … and I believe, that here in America, our success should depend not on accident of birth, but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams, that’s what drew our forebearers here,” said the president. “That’s how the daughter of a factory worker is CEO of America’s largest auto maker.”

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Barra was also at the address, sitting with First Lady Michelle Obama.

In December,  General Motors named Mary Barra as its new CEO to succeed Dan Akerson, who stepped down Jan. 15, 2014.

The hiring of Barra marks the first time a woman has ever been named CEO of a car company.

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While previously working as GM’s Executive Vice President of Global Product Development, 51-year-old Barra was responsible for keeping her foot on the pedal of the automaker’s 11 global brands.