Jane Wu, 38
Vice president, corporate development, and treasurer, Aptiv
Big break: Mastering the art of mergers and acquisitions at Goldman Sachs
Not much about Jane Wu is standard automotive executive. The Princeton graduate with a bachelor’s in economics who pursued a career in investment banking on Wall Street is nonetheless sitting at the center of auto industry change.
As Aptiv’s treasurer and vice president for corporate development, Wu leads a small team of analysts in New York to use mergers and acquisitions to build the electronics supplier into a 21st century technology source, capable of enabling automakers to do new things in a new era.
One of her projects connected Aptiv with Hyundai Motor Group last year in a $4 billion 50-50 joint venture in pursuit of autonomous driving.
Wu is not the final deal-maker. Her job is to put Aptiv and its opportunities in the same room, so to speak, for consideration.
“This company is very much aligned with using M&A as a tool to achieve its strategy,” Wu told Automotive News.
Wu spent 11 years at Goldman Sachs learning the art of M&A. She was recruited in 2014 to steer M&A at security systems company Tyco International, which then merged into Johnson Controls Inc.
Her recruitment by Aptiv in 2017 came at a moment of transformation there. At that time, Aptiv was still Delphi, the former General Motors-oriented conglomerate. And Wu admits her perception of Delphi was a bit out of date.
“The Delphi I remembered was the company that spun out of GM and went through a lot of difficulties,” Wu said. “The new Delphi was just a completely different portfolio, with all these extremely interesting things going on in technology.”
In 2018, Wu’s team arranged for Aptiv’s $650 million acquisition of Winchester Interconnect, a producer of advanced interconnect solutions for harsh environment applications. Wu also led the $520 million acquisition plan for KUM, a supplier of specialized connectors and cable management solutions in South Korea and China. Last year, she brought Aptiv a deal to acquire Gabocom, the German maker of highly engineered cable management systems.
The transformation goes on, despite the constraints of the pandemic. But Wu has been limited in her travels — particularly challenging for her second job at Aptiv, as treasurer. Wu usually would spend half of her time commuting to corporate headquarters in Dublin.
“This is a temporary hiccup,” Wu said of the global business interruption. “But we will continue to push to find ways to differentiate ourselves.”
— Lindsay Chappell