GM shuffle continues with finance chief’s exit
DETROIT — General Motors’s finance chief is leaving after being passed over for the chief executive job.
Chris Liddell, who guided the company to its first profitable year since 2004 and led its successful public stock offering, will step down on April 1 after just 15 months at GM. He will be replaced by treasurer Dan Ammann, a former Wall Street banker, the company announced yesterday.
Liddell, the former chief financial officer of Microsoft Corp., was once considered a candidate to succeed chief executive Ed Whitacre. But GM’s board instead picked current chairman and chief executive Dan Akerson when Whitacre left last August.
During a hastily arranged conference call with reporters, Liddell said he had no job lined up, but doesn’t want to be a chief financial officer any longer. He said he achieved his goals of pulling off GM’s IPO, fixing its accounting problems and getting the company back on sound financial footing.
The move is another in a series of management changes that started soon after GM emerged from bankruptcy protection in July 2009. The company has had four chief executives in less than two years, and it recently changed its top executives in sales, marketing, product development, and engineering.
Shares of GM fell 85 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $31.40 in afternoon trading yesterday, below the November initial public offering price of $33.
Some industry analysts wonder if Liddell’s departure was prompted by GM’s decision in the past two months to raise incentives — such as low-interest loans and lease deals — moves that could hurt GM’s bottom line in the first quarter.
But Liddell said his leaving has nothing to do with the company’s first-quarter performance, and Akerson said the company was off to a fast start for the quarter.