GM taps Microsoft CFO to run finances

Chris Liddell will become CFO starting next year and report directly to interim CEO Ed Whitacre Jr, who is himself a newcomer to the automaker. 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 replaces GM CFO Ray Young, who is transferring to China.
The former head of the government's autos 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 and Oxford University graduate, brings to GM a reputation for holding down costs and stockpiling cash from his tenure with Microsoft, which last month announced he was stepping down.

In announcing his departure, Microsoft said he was leaving to pursue jobs above the level of CFO.
The New Zealand native is a likely candidate for the top position at GM and could be taking the CFO job to get to know the automotive business, management experts say.

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