Microsoft's CFO drives over to GM | Shanghai Daily

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December 23, 2009

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Microsoft's CFO drives over to GM


GENERAL Motors Co has hired the chief financial officer of Microsoft Corp to take over the troubled auto maker's books, tapping a cost-cutter who is now widely seen as a potential candidate to be GM's next CEO.

Chris Liddell will become GM's finance chief starting next year and report directly to interim CEO Ed Whitacre Jr, who also is a newcomer to the auto maker. The 51-year-old Liddell is the first permanent top manager hired from outside the company since it left bankruptcy protection in July. Whitacre, who says he wants to shake up GM's slow and rigid culture, has pushed out top executives and promoted younger managers in recent weeks.

Liddell's appointment led several industry analysts to say he may be trying out to take the permanent CEO position, perhaps as early as next year. The hiring also shows that GM can attract top talent despite its uncertain future and pay limits imposed by its majority stockholder, the United States government.

Liddell replaces GM CFO Ray Young, who was transferred to GM's operations in China. The former head of the government's auto task force wrote that GM had the weakest finance operation that task force members had seen in a major company.

Liddell, a former investment banker, brings from his tenure with Microsoft a reputation for holding down costs and stockpiling cash. Microsoft has said he was quitting to pursue jobs above CFO level.




 

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