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New GM CFO Ammann brings investing skills to the job

Roy Harris | March 11, 2011
In stepping in as finance chief at General Motors, an automaker reborn in a post-bankruptcy IPO in July 2009, 38-year-old Treasurer Daniel Ammann brings years of experience in investment banking at Morgan Stanley, and before that at Credit Suisse. Unlike fellow New Zealander Chris Liddell, who is stepping down as CFO after just over a year on the job, he lacks experience in the role of corporate finance chief.

GM fell 83 cents, or 2.6%, to $31.42 at 4:01 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have dropped 4.8% from their initial public offering price in November.

Liddell's Strategy Differences

In addition to being unhappy about being passed over for the CEO last August, Bloomberg reported, Liddell also had differed with members of the management team over some strategies, including GM's move into consumer auto lending, the person said.

He opposed acquiring subprime lender AmeriCredit Inc., which GM agreed to buy in July, the person said. Liddell had told analysts that he didn't want the risk of financial assets on an industrial company's balance sheet.

Chairman Ed Whitacre replaced onetime finance chief Fritz Henderson as CEO in December 2009, a month before Liddell succeeded Ray Young, who is now CFO of Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM)

"Liddell did not go to GM to be CFO forever," Keller said. "He had to join GM with the presumption that he was the heir apparent. When they picked someone else, he wasn't going to stay."

In addition to saying he had Liddell accomplished all he wanted both at GM and as a CFO, and now wanted to pursue something different, Liddell told reporters:

"My CFO days might be behind me as of April 1. I have a number of interesting ideas but none of them have CFO on it."


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