GM Experiences Another Gear Change

General Motors (GM), the multinational car maker, announced yesterday that CFO Chris Liddell is leaving the company after 15 months in the job.

Last year, Liddell joined the Detroit-based company from software giant Microsoft, where he also served as CFO.

This announcement is the latest following a string of changes in management at GM since its 2009 bankruptcy, which resulted in a new board and senior executives. 

‘This latest move reflects continuing instability in GM’s executive ranks,’ says Logan Robinson, a visiting professor of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. 

When Liddell joined GM, he was seen as a possible successor to then-CEO Ed Whitacre. Last August, however, Dan Akerson was tapped for the top job at the world’s biggest car manufacturer. 

‘Unless Liddell announces a CEO position for himself immediately, it will be clear he was bounced by Akerson, and Liddell will no doubt receive handsome severance in the process,’ says Robinson. ‘No one would leave Microsoft for GM without substantial downside protection.’

Microsoft has reportedly said Liddell’s departure came as he was looking at opportunities to ‘expand his career beyond being a CFO.’

According to GM, Dan Ammann will succeed Liddell as CFO. The 38-year-old executive joined GM in March 2010 and currently serves as the firm’s treasurer and vice president of finance. A successor for Ammann will be announced at a later date.

GM says Ammann has played an integral role in making key financial decisions at the company, including setting financial strategy and reducing debt, and oversaw the company through its record initial public stock offering last November. 

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