Shirley Young, a Chinese immigrant who served as a vice president of General Motors and helped the auto maker set up a manufacturing joint venture in China in the late 1990s, died Saturday at a hospital in Manhattan. She was 85 and had breast cancer.
The daughter of a Chinese diplomat executed in Manila during World War II, Ms. Young arrived in the U.S. when she was 10 years old and worked in market research before joining GM in 1988.
Ms. Young was a founder and former chair of the Committee of 100, which advocates for Chinese Americans and seeks to improve Sino-U.S. relations. She also was a director of companies including Bank of America Corp. and Salesforce.com Inc. and vice chairman of the nominating committee of the New York Stock Exchange. In her business career, she was often the only woman and Asian in the room when decisions were being made.
A friend of the Chinese pianist Lang Lang and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, she promoted artistic exchanges between China and the U.S.
In recent years, amid deteriorating relations between Beijing and Washington, she called for reconciliation and greater understanding. “We have to work together,” she told the Xinhua News Agency in 2018. “Given the intertwined relationship and globalization, it’s ridiculous to think we cannot work together.”
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