Christiane Benner was elected with 96.4% of delegates' votes during a trade union conference in Frankfurt. She succeeds 67-year-old Jörg Hofmann, who did not run for re-election due to his age.
"Our industry must be developed further, not wound down," Benner had said in her candidacy speech.
Benner has been a member of IG Metall since her early 20s, having started work as a foreign-language secretary at a mechanical engineering firm. She took time out to study sociology, and went on to rise through the ranks at IG Metall, becoming the union's vice president in 2015.
Where do women stand in IG Metall?
IG Metall is considered among the world's largest independent trade unions for workers in the steel, metal and electrical industries. It also represents workers in the mechanical engineering and the textile industries.
Of its some 2.2 million members, barely 20% are females. This is no surprise, as the union represents workers in mostly male-dominated industries.
Earlier on Monday, IG Metall amended its statutes in a manner that demands the organization's two chairpersons include at least one woman.
rmt/rc (dpa, Reuters)
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