From the February 2010 issue of Treasury & Risk magazine

Liddell Signs On at GM

Microsoft's CFO Jumps Ship to Join Automaker

Chris Liddell, Microsoft's finance chief since 2005, jumped ship late last year to join battered General Motors as its CFO and vice chairman.

He succeeds Ray Young, a long-time GM finance executive who moved to the company's international operations in the shake-up that followed CEO Fritz Henderson's departure.

During Liddell's time at Microsoft, the company issued its first bond offering and paid out more of its cash hoard to shareholders. But in a May 2009 profile, Liddell told Treasury & Risk he was proudest of the finance team's response to the economic downturn, when it quickly pulled together a program to save $1.5 billion in operating expenses.

The recession pales in comparison to the problems Liddell faces at GM, which reported a $1.2 billion loss in its first post-bankruptcy earnings report for the quarter ended Sept. 30. The U.S. Treasury owns 60.8% of the car maker, and GM must make regular payments on the $17 billion it owes the U.S. and others.

While the challenges are extreme, the upside may be as well. Ed Whitacre, GM's chairman and CEO, said in January Liddell could be a candidate to succeed Henderson as GM's permanent CEO. Liddell, 51, was CFO at International Paper before joining Microsoft.


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