Mary Barra would be GM's first female CEO.

Confirming what many analysts have speculated, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson has stated that Mary Barra is among his potential successors.

Barra, 50, is currently GM's global product development chief. She has had a number of manufacturing and engineering roles during her 22-year career at the automaker and has also held the position of vice president of global human resources. Barra would be GM's first female CEO.

"I wouldn't be surprised if she were [the next CEO], but I wouldn't handicap it today and I think there are a good number of candidates," said Akerson.

Akerson strongly believes that the next GM CEO should come from within the company in order to facilitate a smooth transition, although he emphasized that the final decision rests with GM's board.

GM North American chief Mark Reuss and vice president Steve Girsky are thought to be other likely candidates for the position, according to a Reuters report.

Akerson didn't specify when he would retire, saying that he would remain as long as he was making a contribution and the board wished to retain him.