General Motors (NYSE:GM) announced a shakeup in its front office on Thursday as Chris Liddell, its promising chief financial officer, is leaving the iconic auto maker.
Liddell, 52, a former Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) CFO, will be replaced by Dan Ammann, its Treasurer, on April 1. GM said it expects to tap a new Treasurer at a later date.
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GM did not say precisely why Liddell, who was also the Detroit auto company’s vice chairman, is leaving the company.
During a conference call with reporters, Liddell downplayed talk he was miffed after being passed over for the CEO job by Dan Akerson last year.
“This is really something I’ve been anguishing over for just the past several weeks,” said Liddell, who did admit he may have his sights set on more elevated positions. “I don’t want to be another CFO again. I think my CFO days may be behind me.”
The transition comes in the wake of GM completing the largest public offering on record, a significant achievement after being forced to file for bankruptcy during the Great Recession.
"Chris was a major contributor during a pivotal time in the company's history," Akerson said in a statement “He guided the company's IPO process and established a good financial foundation for the future."
Shares of GM lost ground on the news, sinking 2.33% to $31.50 ahead of Thursday’s open. The stock had already been struggling this year, losing more than 12% as of Wednesday’s close.GM shot down speculation that it is making this personnel shuffle due to poor financial performance and reports it has been forced to increase incentives.
“The fast start we wanted to get is intact. We’re not unhappy and we’re not happy because we haven’t finished March. So far so good,” said Akerson.
Liddell said he is very comfortable with the direction of the company. “I can say it has absolutely nothing to do with the financial performance or the internal workings of the company. I can say the opposite,” Liddell told reporters.
Liddell is handing over the CFO keys to Ammann, 38, who has been credited with playing a “major role” in key financial decisions at GM by being actively engaged in setting the company’s financial strategy and efforts to trim its debt.
Before joining GM in 2010, Ammann was managing director and head of industrials investment banking at Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS).
Ammann said going forward, “absolutely more of the same” can be expected. “I view taking on this role a long term commitment to GM and I look forward to contributing to the success of this company for a long time to come,” he said.
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