Former Microsoft CFO Moves to GM

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Maybe the job market isn't as moribund as all the news reports say -- especially if you're a CFO with a reputation for big cost-cutting moves.

Chris Liddell, who just resigned as CFO at Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), is set to take over the same job at General Motors and will also become the auto giant's vice chairman, according to a statement released by GM Monday.

Liddell, who has been at Microsoft for four and a half years, officially leaves the software giant at the end of this year.

"Chris brings a depth and experience to this job that were unmatched in our search for a new financial leader," GM Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre said in a statement. Liddell, who starts his new job in the new year, will report directly to Whitacre.

In his stint as CFO of the world's largest software firm, Liddell made a name for himself as a cost cutter who signed off on the first round of layoffs in Microsof't's history. Liddell is also credited with cutting an additional $3 billion from Microsoft's expenses in fiscal 2009.

Despite his work to hold down costs, Liddell departure comes shortly after the company reported declining sales and earnings for the first time in its 34-year history.

For its part, Microsoft tabbed a company insider to take Liddell's place. Liddell will be replaced by Peter Klein, a longtime Microsoft finance executive who joined the company in early 2002. Klein most recently served as the CFO of Microsoft's Business Division, which produces one of the company's cash cows -- Microsoft Office.

Before joining Microsoft, Liddell served as CFO at International Paper, the world's largest forest products company. Before joining IP, he was CEO of Carter Holt Harvey Ltd., which at the time was New Zealand's second-largest listed company.

"Chris will lead our financial and accounting operations on a global basis," Whitacre said in the statement. "We're also looking to his experience and insights in corporate strategy as a member of the senior leadership team in helping our restructuring efforts."

While Liddell may be walking into a lion's den when it comes to restructuring one of the world's largest automobile makers, his departure from Microsoft will bring him a little sweetener for his coffee. Microsoft is paying him $1.9 million to buy out his contract, according to the firm's latest 8-K filing.

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com.

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