New Zealander Chris Liddell on Monday was named General Motors vice chairman and chief financial officer.  He was most recently CFO for Microsoft, a post he held since May, 2005.

"Chris brings a depth and experience to this job that were unmatched in our search for a new financial leader," said GM chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre. "Chris will lead our financial and accounting operations on a global basis and will report directly to me. We're also looking to his experience and insights in corporate strategy as a member of the senior leadership team in helping our restructuring efforts."

Liddell will start with GM in the new year. While at Microsoft, he headed the worldwide finance organization, which included overseeing acquisitions, corporate strategy, treasury activities, tax planning, accounting and reporting, internal audit, and investor relations. He is leaving Microsoft on 31 December.

Liddell replaces current GM CFO Ray Young who is moving to head internatonal operations finances at the automaker.

Before joining Microsoft, Liddell was CFO at International Paper, the world's largest forest products company, with similar responsibilities.  Prior to that, he was chief executive officer of Carter Holt Harvey, then New Zealand's second-largest listed company.  He also has worked as an investment banker as managing director and joint CEO for CS First Boston NZ.

Liddell, 51, holds an engineering degree with honours from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and a master of philosophy degree from Oxford University in England. He has served as director of the New Zealand Rugby Union and governor of the New Zealand Sports Foundation. Liddell was a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission's Advisory Committee on Improvements to Financial Reporting.

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