General Motors’ chief financial officer Dhivya Suryadevara has left the automaker for an executive role at Stripe, according to a press release on August 11th. The global technology company for processing online payments has been acquiring human capital in recent months that includes Mike Clayville from Amazon Web Services and Trish Wash out of Voya Financial. Suryadevara enters Stripe as the CFO.
In the Stripe press release, Dhivya Suryadevara said, “I’m very excited to join Stripe at a pivotal time for the company. Stripe’s mission to increase the GDP of the internet is more important now than ever. I really enjoy leading complex, large-scale businesses and I hope to use my skills to help accelerate Stripe’s already steep growth trajectory.”
Suryadevara played a pivotal role as GM acquired autonomous vehicle start-up Cruise as well as the company’s investment in ride-sharing provider Lyft. Prior to her role as CFO, se was CEO and chief investment officer for GM Asset Management from 2013 to 2017 as well as vice president of corporate finance from 2017 to 2018.
The move away from the auto industry is a serious blow to General Motors with a prominent exec leaving for another venture. With her vacancy, GM slots in John Stapleton as acting CFO who is the current finance chief of the North American business. A search for a permanent replacement will begin immediately both internally and externally.
Of the move, GM chief executive Mary Barra said, “Dhivya has been a transformational leader in her tenure as CFO. She has helped the company strengthen our balance sheet, improve our cost structure, focus on cash generation and drive the right investments for our future. We wish her every success.”
Tough Time to Lose CFO
The global economy continues to struggle through the effects of COVID-19 shutdowns. Earlier in 2020, General Motors was forced to access $16 billion in credit lines to bolster the car company’s finances while factories around the world shut down for at least eight weeks. Not only is the purse a little light at the moment, but announcement of a high-profile exec leaving could cause a downturn in the stock price as it struggles to regain lost ground from earlier this year.
While the motive to transition from GM to Stripe was not mentioned, Stripe’s upward trajectory is likely a factor. Strip benefits from a top-performing CFO while Dhivya Suryadevara can continue to pad her resume with posts at prominent organizations.
Keeping Talent is Key
The surprising move from GM to Stripe for Suryadevara serves as a warning for owners and general managers for all organizations including dealerships, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. Talented employees continue to be the most valuable resource, and skills often transfer between industry as is the case for this jump from automotive to technology.
Often, the best employees and managers are looking for continuous growth and opportunities to try new things. Keeping your best talent engaged and providing future potential is important. Suryadevara’s pay structure indicates exactly that – her total compensation for 2019 was more than $6.7 million.
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