Business/Finance

GM CFO steps down after pulling off IPO

Thursday, March 10, 2011
General Motors

General Motors Co. Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell has decided to step down as of April 1 after helping the company pull off a successful stock offering and repair years of accounting troubles.

GM said Thursday that Liddell, 52, the former Microsoft CFO with a reputation as a problem solver, will be replaced by Treasurer Dan Ammann.

Under Liddell, GM posted four straight profitable quarters.

Spokeswoman Noreen Pratscher said Liddell accomplished his goals of finishing an initial public stock offering and returning the company to sound financial footing. She says Liddell did not say anything about his plans for the future.

Shares of GM fell 80 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $31.45 in pre-market trading Thursday.

The 52-year-old Liddell joined GM in January of 2010, about six months after it emerged from bankruptcy protection.

Chairman and Chief Executive Dan Akerson said Liddell was a major contributor to GM during a pivotal time in the company's history.

"He guided the company's IPO process and established a good financial foundation for the future," Akerson said in a statement.

GM reported net income of $4.7 billion last year, fueled by strong sales in China and the U.S. as the global auto market began to recover. It earned $2.89 per share on revenue of $135.6 billion.

It was the company's best performance since earning $6 billion in 1999 during the height of the pickup truck and sport utility vehicle sales boom.

Liddell replaced Ray Young, who was transferred to GM's operations in China. Steven Rattner, former head of the government's autos task force, has said that GM had the weakest finance operation that task force members had seen in a major company.

Last quarter, GM said that its accounting problems had been repaired.

Detroit-based GM sought bankruptcy protection in 2009 and accepted nearly $50 billion in government help. But the company has since made an impressive recovery with global sales growing 12 percent last year.

GM's owners, the U.S. Treasury Department, the Canadian (federal) and Ontario governments and a union health care trust fund, sold common stock in the November IPO. The U.S. government got $13.5 billion from the sale and will have to sell its remaining shares for $53 each to break even on its aid to GM.

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