General Motors Just Named Its First Woman CFO

Dhivya Suryadevara, General Motors’ next chief financial officer.
Dhivya Suryadevara, General Motors’ next chief financial officer.
Photo: Paul Sancya (AP), General Motors

Mary Barra became the first woman CEO of a major automaker when she took charge of General Motors in 2013, and years later, she’s still mostly surrounded by men in automotive leadership positions. But in a few months, Barra will have the GM’s first-ever female chief financial officer reporting to her.


GM named Dhivya Suryadevara as its new CFO, to replace current CFO Chuck Stevens as he’s getting ready to retire. Suryadevara, 39, will take over Sept. 1 before Stevens retires March 1 of next year, and perhaps the best part of GM’s announcement on its new female appointment is this line:

Suryadevara, will report to Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO.

Chairman. We can’t even avoid unnecessarily gendered nouns when the gender becomes incorrect. Imagine calling a man a “chairwoman.”

Anyhoo, Suryadevara came to GM in 2005 with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in commerce from the University of Madras in India and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She’s been the GM vice president of corporate finance since July of last year, according to the announcement, and made the Forbes40 Under 40” list of most influential young people in business in 2015.

The “G” in GM now unofficially stands for Girls Rule and Boys Drool, even if we’re still calling the women “chairmen.”

Staff writer, Jalopnik



First things first, this is awesome, and congrats to GM for getting an outstanding CFO, and to the entire company for having two women at the helm. They need it.

It would probably be a lot easier if we just agreed that the word “man” in things like “chairman” and “mankind” was a neutral term, and applies equally to all genders. Kind of like how all the officers in Battlestar Galactica are called “sir” equally.

“Chairperson” is just awkward.