By Mike Colias 

General Motors Co. Chief Financial Officer Dhivya Suryadevara will leave the auto maker for online commerce firm Stripe Inc., a surprising departure for one of the auto maker's fastest-rising stars.

GM confirmed Tuesday that Ms. Suryadevara was leaving the company for an undisclosed opportunity outside the auto industry. San Francisco-based Stripe confirmed Ms. Suryadevara's hiring.

John Stapleton, GM's chief financial officer for North America, was named acting global finance chief while the company conducts a search, GM said.

Ms. Suryadevara became CFO in 2018, at age 39, after rising through GM's finance ranks. The India native spent nearly her entire career at GM, joining the treasurer's office in New York in 2005.

A trusted lieutenant of Chief Executive Mary Barra, Ms. Suryadevara has overseen a cost-cutting push since taking the CFO job. She took a lead role in a restructuring of its U.S. operations initiated in late 2018 that included the closure of several factories and thousands of salaried layoffs, people familiar with the matter have said. The plant closures drew harsh criticism from President Trump and lawmakers from both parties.

Ms. Suryadevara has emphasized the need for GM to boost free cash flow, believing sluggish cash generation was partly the reason for GM's languishing stock price, people familiar with her thinking have said.

In her previous job as head of corporate finance, Ms. Suryadevara helped lead the sale of GM's European business, in 2017, and was heavily involved in the acquisition of driverless-car startup Cruise Automation, in 2016, for about $1 billion. Cruise last year was valued at about $19 billion.

"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," Ms. Barra said in a statement.

Mr. Stapleton has been with GM since 1990 and has served as CFO of North America since 2014. The region fuels the bulk of GM's global profit.

Write to Mike Colias at Mike.Colias@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 11, 2020 10:38 ET (14:38 GMT)

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