GM shatters glass ceilings once again with CFO appointment

General Motors will have a new CFO on 1 September, when 39-year-old Dhivya Suryadevara takes the reins.

General Motors (GM) will have a new CFO on 1 September, when 39-year-old Dhivya Suryadevara takes the reins from the retiring Chuck Stevens, who has worked at the firm for the past 40 years. Indian-born Suryadevara becomes the first woman to fill the role in the automaker’s 110-year history. She will report to GM's Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, who became the first and only woman to head up a car manufacturer when she was appointed in 2014. GM one of only two Fortune 500 companies that have both a female 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,” said Barra in a news release.
 
Holding a Harvard MBA and an MCom degree from the University of Madras, Suryadevara joined GM in 2005 and helped achieve three ratings upgrades from all three credit ratings agencies and completed a $2 billion notes issuance to fund discretionary pension contributions during her rise through the ranks to serve as vice-president of corporate finance.
 
She’s also been responsible for corporate financial planning, investor relations and special projects and worked on GM's divesting of its Opel operations in Germany, its acquisition in autonomous technology business Cruise and GM's investment in Lyft.
 
Although Suryadevara never imagined going into the automotive industry, she credits her mother, who brought Suryadevara and her siblings up singlehandedly after her father had died, with giving her the courage to take on anything "challenging and complicated." 
 
"My mom had to raise three children on her own, which is difficult to do anywhere, let alone in India," she said. "She wanted to make sure there were no corners cut when it came to our education and to prove that we could have the same resources as a two-parent household."