Microsoft’s former CFO Liddell takes CFO job at GM

Holiday Apple Blowout IV“General Motors appointed Christopher P. Liddell, who led a $3 billion cost-cutting effort at Microsoft, as its chief financial officer on Monday,” Nick Bunkley reports for The New York Times.

“Mr. Liddell, whose departure from Microsoft was announced last month, is the highest-ranking executive hired by G.M. under Edward E. Whitacre Jr., the automaker’s chairman and interim chief executive,” Bunkley reports.His selection comes about three months after G.M.’s directors decided to replace Ray Young, who has been chief financial officer since March 2008.”

Bunkley reports, “Mr. Liddell, 51, became Microsoft’s chief financial officer in 2005 after holding the same position at International Paper Company. He has also been chief executive at a forestry products company in his native New Zealand and an investment banker, but has no automotive experience. He will join G.M. on Jan. 1, about six months after the automaker emerged from bankruptcy protection.”

“He earned $3.7 million from Microsoft in the 2009 fiscal year and will receive $1.9 million after leaving the company. He will earn considerably less at G.M., at least initially, because the company must adhere to executive pay limits tied to the $50 billion it borrowed from the federal government in the past year,” Bunkley reports. “Among his expected responsibilities at G.M. will be to oversee a public stock offering as soon as next year. Proceeds from an offering would help the government, which owns 60 percent of G.M., collect some of the money it lent.”

Bunkley reports, “G.M. on Friday made a $1 billion payment toward the $6.7 billion in government debt that remained on its balance sheet.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This is like jumping off the Titanic and landing on the deck of the Andrea Doria.

25 Comments

  1. Well that’s a story that has nothing to do with Apple in any way, shape or form given that Liddell ceased to be involved in Apple’s orbit in November.

    I’m not sure I cared about Chris Liddell even when he was MSFT’s CFO, but I’m pretty darn certain I don’t care about him now.

  2. Why would you hire someone from Microsoft?

    Perhaps GM are considering stealing technology, engaging in predatory price practices and manipulative marketing strategies, monopolistic behaviour (in their dreams), taking on the EU or manufacturing their own iPod-killer?

  3. Forced? You mean after the business leadership drove the company into the ground? That kind of forced?

    Clearly, they had a choice just like all the other losers who took handouts.

    Fsck Wall Street, the Fed, the Treasury, and the corporate communists who took the goverment cheese!

  4. I, for one, am glad to see new blood at GM. I know that, having been associated with with the Borg, Chris Liddell must be vilified on this site, but he was brought in at Microsoft in 2005 to cut costs and he did so. Let’s hope he can help make remake into GM a lean, competitive company. With Bob Lutz as design chief, GM’s products have become very good, I’ve driven them recently. Let’s hear it for a resurgence in the American automotive industry. In ’98 Apple was on the brink of death, now it’s an industry leader. Hopefully, the same can happen at GM.

  5. What is wrong with this picture? Liddel said he does not want to be a CFO anymore. Has been said to have CEO aspirations. Yet he resigns from higher paid job and takes lower paid and more riskier job as CFO again. Am I the only one puzzled by this?

  6. This is a guy who worked for a company (MS) that had to do cost cutting in order to make a profit, rather than truly innovate and control cost along the way. And he gets credit for the cost cutting! Part of the serious problem with GM and other American auto manufactures was too much cost cutting and not enough innovation and cost control along the way. This is not to say that the ridiculous UAW work rules (note: work rules were the issue more so than salaries) didn’t also contribute to the problems. The need for cost cutting, in my estimation, has always been a result of poor management and resultant control. As a result, it should never be praised but despised as it indicates poor management and controls.

  7. It still seems that the powers that be think that Microsoft and anyone attached to it is some sort of beacon of good business practice and success. Truth is that if that were the case he wouldn’t have been employed by Microsoft in the first place and there is precious little indication that he has shown that ever whitening elephant the error of its ways. Expect him to jump ship at GM before his lack of success is evident there too. Maybe this guy isn’t so incompetent after all… from a personal perspective anyway.

  8. Part of GM’s problem for the past few decades has been that it kept promoting from within because it wanted “car guys.” Well, the car guys kept submitting car designs and decisions to committees which needed multiple focus groups before any decision could be reached. It also kept giving away the farm to the unions, while having to support the health care and retirement systems put in place in the 1960s instead of blowing them up and reworking them. Then the bean counters got in on the act, hence the 1980s full of GM cars which differed only in color and badges.

    I don’t know about Liddell’s pedigree, but hiring someone from outside of GM can only help the company. It can’t get much lower anyway. The sad thing is that it took SOOOOOO long for GM to wake up and smell the bankruptcy and rotting stock prices. The sad thing is that I don’t know that the $50B did anything to help GM, since it filed for bankruptcy protection anyway. Should have just done that in the first place and not become Obama Motors. At least then it would have some flexibility on who it could hire for its management positions (not that wise decisions were made in the past).

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.