DETROIT — For the first time in a decade, General Motors will hire a CFO from outside the company.
The automaker on Friday said Paul Jacobson, CFO at Delta Air Lines Inc. since 2012, will take over the top finance position Dec. 1. GM’s acting CFO John Stapleton, who has held the position since Dhivya Suryadevara’s sudden departure in August, will return to his role as CFO of North America.
Jacobson, 48, will be the first CFO from outside GM since 2010, when the company hired Chris Liddell from Microsoft. The three CFOs since then — Dan Ammann, Chuck Stevens and Suryadevara — all held other roles with the company before taking the top finance job.
Jacobson has worked at Delta in a number of finance positions since 1997. He most recently helped the company navigate the coronavirus pandemic that has hit the airline industry particularly hard. He will report to GM CEO Mary Barra.
“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,” Barra said in a statement. “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.”
GM said in a statement that, with Jacobson in charge of its finances, Delta was named to Fortune magazine’s Top 50 Most Admired Companies for six consecutive years and was the top-ranked airline for eight out of nine years.
Jacobson comes to the automaker at a pivotal time as it invests heavily in electrifying its lineup and expanding its services in the autonomous-vehicle space. GM has a string of product introductions planned in the coming years, including the recently unveiled Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EVs.
“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 in a statement. “I look forward to joining the team and helping them accelerate their plan.”
GM will report third-quarter earnings Nov. 5 as it hopes to shake off the effects of the pandemic that shuttered plants in the spring. The automaker previously said in a 14 million-vehicle industry with no production disruption, it would expect $7 billion to $9 billion in cash generation, and that it planned to repay debt it incurred in response to the pandemic by the end of the year.