Home >Companies >News >General Motors' CFO resigns to join fintech startup Stripe

General Motors Co.’s chief financial officer is stepping down after two years to take a job at financial technology company Stripe Inc. in an unexpected move depriving it of a rising star and one of the auto industries few senior female executives.

GM said Tuesday that Dhivya Suryadevara, who had served as CFO since September 2018, is leaving and it would start a search for her successor immediately. Suryadevara will join closely held Stripe as its CFO, the San Francisco-based company said.

Suryadevara’s departure leaves GM without a talented executive who oversaw its finances during last year’s strike and a pandemic-induced factory shutdown earlier this year. At 41, she was one of the youngest leaders on Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra’s team.

The high-level departure from the blue-chip automaker for a 9-year-old tech company comes as Detroit faces an uncertain outlook amid falling demand and the ascendancy of electric-vehicle leader Tesla Inc., whose valuation dwarfs GM’s $41.9 billion market capitalization.

“I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given at GM," Suryadevara said in a statement. “While I look forward to a new opportunity that will allow me to apply my skills in a new sector, I have great confidence in GM’s trajectory and future."

Most Valuable Startup

In April, Stripe raised $600 million from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst and Sequoia Capital. The round gave Stripe a valuation of $36 billion, making it one of the most valuable startup in the U.S., according to CB Insights.

The company has been in growth mode during the global pandemic and expanded to five new European Markets in May. That fast growth trajectory and its high valuation has made it a top candidate to go public. Hiring a prominent CFO is often a step companies take as they advance in preparations for an IPO and need to make a strong case to potential investors.

Stripe had no immediate comment on that possibility, but told the Financial Times it did not hire Suryadevara in preparation for an IPO.

GM named John Stapleton, its North American finance chief, acting CFO as of Aug. 15 while it conducts a search for an internal or external candidate to take on the job in permanent capacity.

Credit Suisse analyst Dan Levy in a note published Tuesday called Stapleton a GM veteran who has been responsible for the automaker’s most important business unit.

Tumultuous Tenure

Suryadevara ran GM’s finances through a successful and also tumultuous period. She was a key player in GM’s cost-cutting moves in 2019 that saved $4.5 billion and kept profits aloft even as auto sales stagnated.

Her tenure also included a 40-day labor strike that cost the company $2 billion and, more recently, almost two months of plant shutdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Suryadevara initiated cash-saving moves during that time, which resulted in smaller-than-expected losses in the second quarter. GM has told investors it will likely return to profit in the second half of this year.

GM shares rose as much as 4.9% to 29.34 as of 11:30 a.m in New York.

(Updates with impact of CFO departure in the third paragraph)

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©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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