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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 2:00 pm

GM names female CFO as Barra broadens diversity in top ranks

DAVID WELCH and JEFF GREEN | Bloomberg News

General Motors is about to have two of the auto industry's highest-ranking women in the upper echelons of its management team.

Dhivya Suryadevara, GM's vice president of corporate finance for the last 11 months, will become chief financial officer on Sept. 1, replacing Chuck Stevens, the company said Wednesday.

Suryadevara, 39, played a key role in GM divesting its German affiliate Opel, acquiring self-driving car unit Cruise Automation, investing in ride-hailing startup Lyft Inc. and arranging a recent investment by SoftBank Vision Fund.

"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," Mary Barra, GM's chief executive officer, said in a statement.

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

Barra has promoted women to some key positions since taking the top job in January 2014. Two years ago, she named Alicia Boler Davis as executive vice president of global manufacturing, and Barra appointed Kim Brycz as senior vice president of human resources in March.

But those three are the only women among GM's 17 corporate officers. With Suryadevara replacing Stevens, the Detroit-based automaker will approach the 27 percent share of women in senior jobs among S&P 500 companies, according to Catalyst, which tracks women in leaderships positions.

The automaker's board is tied with several other companies as the most diverse among S&P 500 companies with half of its directors being women.

Stevens, 58, has been CFO since January 2014. He'll retire in March as a more than 40-year veteran of the company.