GM’s embattled finance department is getting new blood today, as The General has poached Microsoft’s Chris Liddell to take over as Chief Financial Officer. GM’s CFO position is being vacated by Ray Young, who was rumored to be on his way out as far back as last summer. Young will become a VP for international operations. The 51 year old Liddell has been Microsoft’s CFO since 2005, and is (irony of ironies) best known for reducing the software giant’s legendary cash position through buybacks and dividends. The Wall Street Journal estimates Liddell oversaw the return of $14b to Microsoft stockholders last fiscal year alone.
Though he was only modestly successful at boosting Microsoft’s stock price, he does have another qualification, explained to the WSJ by ISI Group analyst Bill Whyman
He labored under a dominant personality who has a challenging relationship with the investor community
Which sounds like good experience for life under Ed Whitacre. But unless Liddell demonstrates some serious stock price mojo, he won’t last long. GM’s major goal over the next several years will be pulling off an IPO that will both provide the company with working capital and (in theory anyway) pay off some portion of its taxpayer obligations. On behalf of America’s taxpayers, we wish him the best of luck with that.