Even in the few months I’ve been here, I’ve been encouraged by the progress we’ve made, but when it will all come together is impossible to say… We’ll do it when we’re ready
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.
For all the criticism that’s been leveled at GM’s finance operation, the firm’s most recent CFOs have yet to pay much of a career price. Previous CFO Fritz Henderson was promoted to the CEO’s spot by the presidential auto task force, and Automotive News [sub] reports that current CFO Ray Young has just been named VP for International Operations. Young’s departure from GM’s finance unit has been something of a foregone conclusion since GM exited bankruptcy, with reports of his imminent departure in the Detroit papers of record going undenied, and a recent acknowledgment that a search was on for his successor. In light of GM CEO Ed Whitacre’s ongoing game of executive whack-a-mole, it was tempting to believe that Young was on his way out, but apparently GM CFOs are pre-sprayed with teflon.
The departures from GM are piling up fast. After CEO Fritz Henderson was ousted yesterday, MarketWatch reports that Opel’s CFO Marco Molinari has left the firm. This completes a gutting of GM’s financial operations, that includes the departure of GM International CFO Joe Peter, and the any-day-now departure of GM CFO Ray Young. Like the GM mothership, Opel is now without a permanent CEO and CFO. GM CEO and Chairman Ed Whitacre has a ton of hiring to do, and fast.