General Motors has announced that Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell will be leaving the company on April 1, “having completed the largest public offering in history and stabilizing the company’s financial operations.” CEO Dan Akerson has denied that Liddell’s departure has anything to do with GM’s first-quarter financial performance or his relationship with the departing CFO, saying “we could finish each others sentences.” The former Microsoft man was brought into GM in January of last year, and helped guide the automaker through its IPO and eliminated its material weaknesses in internal financial controls, apparently the two tasks he needed to complete before riding off into the sunset.
Still, with GM’s powertrain boss, President of Onstar and head of Brazilian operations all leaving the company this quarter, there has been lots of turnover at the upper ranks of GM’s leadership (even considering no top-level GM executive was in their current position when the firm went through bankruptcy). But unlike those other departures, Liddell has a successor ready to go, saying
I came to General Motors to be part of something great. My objective was to help rebuild this iconic company and I am particularly pleased that through this process, we have also developed a strong successor in Dan Ammann.
Amman is currently GM’s VP for finance and Treasurer. He joined GM a year ago from Morgan Stanley, where he worked in industrial investment banking. And despite the seemingly orderly transition, GM’s stock has tumbled on the news of Liddell’s departure. Apparently the market is still coming to terms with the idea of high turnover at the automaker that people used to say could only be run by an insider. My how things change…