Two top executives prove that, at General Motors, strategically steering automotive manufacturing is women’s work…
This post was published on 08 Aug, 2018

There is perhaps no more difficult time than right now to manage and run a global car manufacturing concern. 

Post a Chapter 11-bankruptcy, General Motors needed strong, decisive leadership and very clear thinking. Their answer came in the form of their CEO and their CFO, Mary Barra and Dhivya Suryadevara. While many women are employed in the car business – these ladies are taking charge at the wheel.

When it comes to driving, managing risk is always important. Old Mutual iWYZE explores not only two women on the move – but how women everywhere can find inspiration to flourish in traditionally male-dominated industries. 

Wheeling and dealing

Off course, women have been involved in the automotive industry forever. As part of sales teams, inside manufacturing plants, in administration and offices, from mechanics to marketing executives. Female racing drivers – such as South African Desiré Wilson, prove that there are no limits at all. At the Ford Motor Company, Marcy Klevorn was in charge of the company’s mobility efforts. No small portfolio. 

And yet several manufacturers include an all-male executive. From VW Group and Daimler to Fiat and Toyota – it would seem that General Motors are leading the way when it comes to taking fresh new roads in the global game of car making. 

It’s one thing to appoint some senior management or executives. Quite another to have not one – but two C-Suite leaders at the helm. 

Maria Barra

Some might call Maria Barra the best CEO ever at General Motors. Taking charge when there were bankruptcies and bailouts throughout the motoring world, she steered GM through a difficult time. But the moment she entered the driver’s seat, she had to deal with a major recall involving ignition switches. Over time she made several tough – and visionary – calls. From disposing of Opel and acquiring self-driving car makers like Cruise to keep GM moving to the future, to launching the long-range, all electric Chevy Bolt. 

Dhivya Suryadevara

With a Harvard MBA, Suryadevara joined GM’s Corporate Finance team as Vice President in 2017. With her experience in several of the company’s financial operations and delivery of strong results, as well as her leadership, she was in a good position to join Barra at the very pinnacle. Together, their skills and passion make them a powerful team, likely to make big impact not only on their own company, but on the car industry for several years to come. 

Taking control

These two ladies demonstrate what most women already understand very well: if you want to go places, you have to take control. As more and more women become key players in the global business environment, they drive themselves and economies forward. 

Women on the move should chat to Old Mutual iWYZE about affordable car insurance. In fact, in less than 60 seconds – they can have a quote in hand. All it takes is a click. 

Old Mutual Insure Ltd is an authorised FSP (FSP12). Risk profile dependent. Terms and conditions apply. 


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