When Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell announced recently that he was leaving Microsoft, he noted that he would "expand his career beyond being a chief financial officer." Reports at the time suggested that Liddell was looking for a "CEO-type" role at another company.
Well, that's not what happened—at least not yet. For now, Liddell will join beleaguered auto maker General Motors (GM) in his old role as CFO. But many speculate that the transition could result in Liddell taking the reins at GM one day as well.
Ironically, there has been some speculation this week that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be ousted in the coming year, a rumor that was touched off when Newsweek posted its top ten tech predictions for 2010. (Ballmer was #9.)
Industry insiders don't see this happening, however. ZDNet blogger Mary Jo Foley, who knows more about the internals of the company than anyone else I know, says that this prediction is "out and out wrong." And while she lists many reasons for this, the simplest is happening right in front of us: Chris Liddell has already expressed his desire for a CEO-level job and, seeing as that wasn't happening at Microsoft, he announced his intention to leave.
In any event, Liddell will have his hands full at GM in any capacity. GM is planning a public stock offering in 2010 and is attempting an unprecedented financial turnaround that involves $50 billion in government aid.
I do have one request for Mr. Liddell: Please save Saab. It's disgusting what GM did to that car maker and the least it could do is set things right