Leading the way

Iconic U.S. company to become largest corporation in the world with a woman CEO and CFO

General Motors' new CFO Dhivya Suryadevara. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)

More 100 years after its founding, an iconic automaker is putting a major crack in the corporate America’s glass ceiling. General Motors announced Dhivya Suryadevara as its new chief financial officer this week, setting the stage for the automaker to become far and away the biggest company in the world headed by both a woman CEO and CFO. When Suryadevara officially assumes her duties in September, GM, which has been led by Mary Barra since 2014, will become the only company beside Hershey in the Fortune 500 to have a woman CEO and CFO. According to Anna Beninger, senior director of research and corporate engagement partner at Catalyst, the reason so few companies employ both a woman CEO and CFO is straightforward — few companies have a woman in either position to start with.

“Any time a woman brings on another woman, it’s notable. It should be acknowledged, and celebrated,” Beninger told CNN, noting that only 23 companies in the Fortune 500 have a woman as CEO.

General Motors (GM) CEO Mary Barra speaks to the news media before the automaker’s annual meeting of shareholders at GM world headquarters June12, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Suryadevara, 39, has served as vice president of corporate finance for GM since 2017 and has achieved a number of remarkable successes since she joined the car manufacturer in 2005. She has been credited with helping land a $2.25 billion investment in the company’s self-driving cars from Softbank, pushing for the company’s $500 million investment into Lyft, and overseeing GM’s sale of Opel, the manufacturer’s European division.

According to CNN, Suryadevara’s rise comes after a year in which the number of women CEOs at Fortune 500 companies dropped by more than a quarter. On the bright side, before the departure of leaders such as Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Hewlett Packard’s Meg Whitman, the number of women CEOs in the Fortune 500 had been at a record high of 32.

Read the full story at CNN.

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