The global automobile industry has been traditionally dominated by men. However, this trend is slowly changing and the decision by General Motors, the US-based MNC, to appoint a woman as its Chief Financial Officer for the first time in its history only proves that point.
The iconic carmaker’s decision has been met with applause from all across the globe, especially India. Why is that? Well, the new CFO of General Motors is 39-year-old Dhivya Suryadevara, who hails from Chennai.
Mary Barra, the first female CEO of not just GM but the auto industry, chose Dhivya to oversee the Detroit-based company’s financials. She will replace Chuck Stevens, who has served the American auto giant for 40 years.
Before her appointment as CFO on Wednesday, Dhivya was vice-president of the company’s Corporate Finance unit and was responsible for a whole host of major deals that the company has closed.
“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 to several business publications earlier this week.
Here are some interesting facts about GM’s new CFO:
1) Born and raised in India, Dhivya acquired a Bachelors and Masters in commerce from the University of Madras. She then moved to the prestigious Harvard Business School at the age of 22 for her MBA.
2) Dhivya’s father passed away when she was very young, leaving her mother to raise she and her two sisters all alone. “My mom had to raise three children on her own, which is difficult to do anywhere, let alone in India. 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. Her high expectations made us want to do better, and we learned that nothing comes easy. You have to really work hard to get what you want,” she told Real Simple magazine.
3) She got her first job at PricewaterhouseCoopers before moving to UBS, an investment bank. Dhivya joined GM, a year later, as a 25-year-old.
4) Dhivya was named by Crain’s Detroit Business 40 under 40 winner as the Automotive New Rising Star in 2016.
5) Appointed as the VP of the company’s corporate finance department in July 2017, she has played a significant role in helping GM sell off Opel, acquire self-driving vehicle startup Cruise, invest in cab-hailing startup Lyft and more recently garner a $2.25 billion investment from Japanese multinational conglomerate holding company SoftBank Group Corp for Cruise operations.
6) She also assisted the company garner better ratings from all three major credit rating agencies, “completed $2 billion in notes issuance to fund discretionary pension contributions and upsized and renewed GM’s $14.5 billion revolving credit facility,” according to this Reuters report.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)