‘Chennai girl Suryadevara, GM’s next CFO, was a focused student’

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Chennai, June 15 (IANS) The schoolmates of Dhivya Suryadevara, who has been appointed Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of US automotive company General Motors, describe her as a calm and focused student who had all the fun.

“Dhivya was very disciplined and focused. We all used to have fun together. She would not neglect her studies. She would finish her studies and yet have all the fun,” Subha Srinivasan, a teacher in a Bengaluru school, told IANS on Friday.

Srinivasan said Suryadevara was the youngest of the three girls in the family.

On Wednesday, General Motors announced the appointment of Suryadevara as CFO, effective from September 1, 2018 reporting to Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO.

“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,” Barra was quoted as saying in a statement.

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G. Shyam Sunder, Corporate Legal Advisor, told IANS: “I feel very proud. Dhivya was generally a reserved and calm girl in school and one of the class toppers.”

Bharani Subramanian, Senior Manager at Wipro, said: “The elevation news of Dhivya as CFO of General Motors gives a good feeling and confidence that one can go to the top.

“Dhivya was a calm girl. She used to move well with her circle of friends.”

The three were classmates of Suryadevara at St. John’s Senior Secondary School here. They all passed their Class 12 exams in 1996.

“She was brilliant and hard working. She had no airs about being one of the class toppers. Generally her batchmates were good and many of them are in good positions,” S. Raja Ponnivelan, who taught accountancy at the school, told IANS.

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Suryadevara, 39, has been Vice President, Corporate Finance since July 2017. In this role, she has been responsible for corporate financial planning, investor relations and special projects.

She played an integral role in the Opel divestiture, Cruise acquisition, Lyft investment and more recently, SoftBank’s investment in GM Cruise, the statement said.

From 2015 to 2017, Suryadevara served as Vice President, Finance and Treasurer. She helped achieve ratings upgrades from all three credit ratings agencies, completed $2 billion notes issuance to fund discretionary pension contributions and upsized and renewed GM’s $14.5 billion revolver.

She also served as CEO and Chief Investment Officer for GM Asset Management from 2013 to 2017. In this capacity, she was responsible for the management of business and investment activities of GM’s $85 billion pension operations.

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Suryadevara joined GM in 2005. She received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in commerce from the University of Madras in Chennai and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a Chartered Accountant.

–IANS

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