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December 12th, 2013
06:46 PM ET

Pelosi: Female GM CEO a 'very big deal'

In an exclusive interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said she was "absolutely thrilled" with the decision by General Motors to tap Mary Barra as its next CEO.

"It's really a breakthrough," Pelosi told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an exclusive interview on Thursday. "It's a very big deal."

GM made the announcement Tuesday, becoming the first of the so-called “Big Three” U.S. automakers to appoint a woman as top executive.

The company's decision means Barra joins an exclusive club. Of the firms listed in the Fortune 500, only 22, or 4.2%, hold the chief executive role. Barra will become No. 23.

Praising Barra as a "talented" businesswoman, Pelosi insisted that gender inequality in America's corner offices isn't due to a lack of qualified female candidates.

"It's not about lack of talent, that's for sure," Pelosi said.

Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House, said she congratulated Barra over the phone.

Barra is set to take over for outgoing CEO Dan Akerson on January 15.

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