Meet General Motors’ first female CFO: Dhivya Suryadevara

New Delhi: Dhivya Suryadevara, an Indian-American woman, has been named the chief financial officer of the United States’ largest automaker, General Motors.

Currently the vice-president of corporate finance, Suryadevara, will succeed Chuck Stevens, GM’s present CFO, on September 1, the company said in a statement.

She will report to chief executive officer (CEO) Mary Barra, 56, who has been head of the automaker since 2014.

Barra and Suryadevara are the first women in their respective positions in the auto industry, as no other major global automaker has a female CEO, nor a CEO and CFO who are both female.

GM will join a very short list of S&P 500 companies, including Hershey Co. and American Water Works Co., with women in the positions of CEO and CFO.

“Dhivya’s experience and leadership in several key roles throughout our financial operations positions her well to build on the strong business results we’ve delivered over the last several years,” Barra said in a statement.

Stevens, 58, has been CFO at the largest US automaker since January 2014 and will retire in March next year as a more than 40-year veteran of the company.

He will remain with the company as an adviser until his retirement, the statement said.

Who is Dhivya Suryadevara?

  • The 39-year-old Chennai-born Suryadevara has been GM’s vice-president of corporate finance since July 2017.
  • Following her father’s death when Suryadevara was young, she and her two sisters were raised by a single mother .
  • Suryadevara earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in commerce from the University of Madras in Chennai, India.
  • She moved to the US at the age of 22 to pursue her masters in business administration (MBA) from Harvard University.
  • She began her career at PricewaterhouseCoopers before moving to investment banking at UBS.
  • At 25, she joined GM as a senior financial analyst at the treasurer’s office, and she’s been with the company ever since, eventually becoming one of the youngest chief investment officers of GM Asset Management, in which she managed $85 billion worth of assets for the company’s pension plans.
  • Suryadevara is also a chartered financial analyst and a chartered accountant.
  • In 2015, she was named one of Fortune Magazine’s 40 under 40. At the time, she revealed that her very first car had been a Buick Enclave.
  • In its statement, GM said Suryadevara had played an important role in the company’s sale of the Opel brand to French carmaker Groupe PSA, its acquisition of self-driving tech startup Cruise, and its investment in ride-hailing service Lyft, among other things.
  • At GM, she’s worked on corporate financial planning and investor relations, but her focus areas at the company have also included its efforts in developing autonomous vehicle technology.

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