GM goes for outsider as finance chief

City A.M. Reporter
GENERAL Motors yesterday hired Chris Liddell, the chief financial officer of Microsoft , as its new finance chief, filling a key position with the carmaker’s highest-profile hire since its July bankruptcy.

The hire brings another well known car industry outsider to GM’s shifting senior executive team at a time when it has been struggling to close deals to sell key assets and regain sales momentum in the US market.

GM has been operating since July with a new board vetted by the Obama administration and, since the start of December, under a new chief executive in Ed Whitacre, who had spent a career at telecommunications provider AT&T.

Liddell, 51, will start at GM in January, the automaker said yesterday. He previously announced he would be leaving Microsoft at the end of December, indicating he was looking for a bigger job at another company.

At Microsoft, Liddell, a New Zealand native, had been responsible for the software giant's corporate strategy, treasury, accounting and investor relations. He joined Microsoft in 2005 from International Paper, where he was also CFO.

Most recently at Microsoft, Liddell had spearheaded a cost-cutting plan set in motion last January that included the biggest job cuts the company had ever seen.

GM has faced sharp criticism for its financial management in recent years. Former chief executive Fritz Henderson, who had been CFO, was dismissed by the automaker’s board earlier this month.

His successor as CFO, Ray Young, was reassigned to GM’s international operations in Shanghai earlier this month.