Chris Liddell

Chris Liddell

Things are changing quickly at GM these days. Today the company announced it has found a new CFO and vice chairman in Chris Liddell, formerly CFO for software giant Microsoft Corp. The news is the latest in a series of leadership changes at the top of GM's executive ranks.

Fritz Henderson's quick exit from the post of GM CEO this month was the result of Ed Whitacre, GM's chairman, taking the reins with verve. He quickly put several other plays in motion, moving Mark Reuss to the position of president of GM North America and moving Susan Docherty to the head of sales and marketing while shuffling Bob Lutz over to a role as senior advisor while keeping the vice chairman title.

Liddell replaces Ray Young at the CFO position, and Whitacre is hopeful that Liddell's leadership will help push the corporate financial outlook in a positive direction. What that means, exactly, is anyone's guess at this point. Terms like "restructuring efforts" and "experience and insights" were bandied about in a release from GM.

There's no denying that Liddell is qualified for the job, however. He holds an engineering degree from the University of Auckland, a Master of Philosophy from Oxford and has served with the Securities and Exchange Commission and headed up some of New Zealand's largest financial concerns--all before spending the past four years as the CFO at Microsoft.

Liddell leaves Microsoft December 31, to start at GM January 1, 2010.