General Motors ended its search for a new chief financial officer landing on Paul Jacobson, who held the same position at Delta Air Lines. Jacobson fills the void created in early August when Dhivya Suryadevara left after holding the job for two years.
Jacobson starts Dec. 1, taking over for John Stapleton, who was filling in on an interim basis and will remain in his previous role as North America chief financial officer. Suryadevara left GM for the same role at Stripe, an online payment startup.
“Paul is a great addition to the GM senior leadership team and is dedicated to leading the company for the benefit of all stakeholders – customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders,” said Barra.
“We share a commitment to teamwork and inclusion as we work toward our vision of a future with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion while delivering a best-in-class customer experience, operational and financial excellence, and disciplined capital allocation.”
Jacobson, 48, had CFO of Delta since 2012. During his tenure, the company was ranked as one of Fortune magazine’s Top 50 Most Admired Companies for six consecutive years and the top-ranked airline for eight out of nine years.
“GM’s vision is compelling because it embraces the needs of society, customers and investors, and they are executing an historic technology shift to electrification from a position of strength,” Jacobson said. “I look forward to joining the team and helping them accelerate their plan.”
Jacobson, who at one time in his youth wanted to be a pilot, joined Delta as a financial analyst in 1997, taking several positions of increasing responsibility until becoming senior vice president and treasurer. In March 2012, he became chief financial officer.
He actually had planned to retire earlier this year, but was convinced to stay with the company a bit longer to help them through the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, before he elected to come to the automaker.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian noted Jacobson was “critical to Delta’s initial response to the COVID-19 crisis.” He added Jacobson led the company’s efforts to boost its liquidity and growing the company’s cash reserves to help the airline through the tough times this year.
“Those who know Paul aren’t surprised at his skill in navigating a crisis,” Bastian said in a statement. “More than a decade ago, he played a crucial role in developing and leading the strategy that regained our investment-grade balance sheet as we rose from the difficult years after Sept. 11, 2001. He has been recognized numerous times as the industry’s top CFO.”
Jacobson is a graduate of Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in aviation management and later received a Master of Business Administration degree from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University.