Liddell - motor man could fix our city
Last updated 13:34 11/03/2011
The news that New Zealand born GM chief financial officer Chris Liddell, who has presided over arguably the most complete industrial and fiscal turnaround in automotive history, is now at a loose end, having resigned from his post this week, has me thinking. What an opportunity to get him to fix Christhurch.
Liddell is the man who managed to guide General Motors to profit for the first time since 2004 and led its successful public share offer. He is to step down on April 1 after just 15 months in the position.
Under Liddell, GM posted four straight profitable quarters and started to fix accounting troubles that had hurt it for decades.
It's largely thought that his next step at GM would have been to move into the CEO's position, but that would probably have been years away.
Perhaps he could take the job of looking after the rebuilding of Christchurch instead, as he would appear to be the kind of visionary character - without pre-conceptions - the city could do with.
Liddell, formerly the CFO of Microsoft, was always considered a candidate to succeed chief executive Ed Whitacre, though GM's board instead picked current chairman and CEO Dan Akerson when Whitacre left last August.
Liddell has no job in the offiing, but having managed to star at Microsoft and GM in quick succession in difficult times, could he be the leader we need to drive Christchurch to its new future? After all, he joined both Microsoft and General Motors on the strength of a reputation as a problem solver.
So well thought of was Liddell that GM's shares dropped 85 cents, or 2.6 per cent, on Thursday to below the initial public offering price in November of US$33. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 209 points, or 1.7 per cent.
I wonder if Bob Parker could persuade the man to take a huge drop in salary for the challenge to drive the turnaround of an even bigger basket case than General Motors was not so long ago?
How about as head of transrail... theres a company that needs a real turnaround. Not that they could afford him, I would say...