An Indian origin Chennai-born woman, Dhivya Suryadevara has been named as the first female Chief Finance Officer of the United States’ largest automaker, General Motors – making it the only major global automaker which has a female CEO as well as a female CFO, the topmost two positions in any company.
Let’s make this clear, there are a lot of women striving in the business world today, but only a few make it to the leadership positions in major global companies. The automobile sector, particularly, is still dominated by men because it is stereotyped as a bastion of “car guys” as a whole. But it is the women with power and talent, who are breaking the glass ceilings and making it to the top of the so-called male dominant automobile business. The doors were opened when Mary Barra was appointed as the CEO of America’s largest automobile company – General Motors; and following her footsteps is the same company’s new Chief Finance Officer, an Indian lady named Dhivya Suryadevara.
Known as a financial wizard, Dhivya Suryadevara was born and brought up in India – and she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in commerce from the University of Madras in Chennai. Then, the aspiring woman moved to the United States for her higher studies at Harvard at the age of 22, where she earned herself an MBA and landed her first job at the investment bank UBS. A year later, at the age of 25, Dhivya joined the General Motors and then there was no turning back – she was named Automotive News Rising Star in 2016 and a Crain’s Detroit Business 40 Under 40 winner in 2017. Involved in major financial deals made by the General Motors, including the $2.25 billion investment in GM Cruise by Japanese tech giant SoftBank Group Corp, Dhivya played significant role in some integral deals for the company.
Recognizing her immense talent, Dhivya Suryadevara, who is currently the vice president of corporate finance at GM, will succeed Chuck Stevens, GM’s present CFO, on September 1. With this, she will become the first ever female CFO of General Motors – a major proud moment for India. And 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. Barra is arguably the best CEO the company has ever had, and Dhivya, with her experience and leadership in several key roles throughout our financial operations positions, will be delivering best financial outcomes for the global company. It is a much-needed and impressive change at the GM’s working arena – moving towards success while seizing stereotypes that the world is still stuck in.