Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell Steps Down

Peter Klein, Microsoft

Microsoft has announced that Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell will be stepping down from his position and leaving the company at the end of 2009 to consider career opportunities beyond being a CFO. Peter Klein, currently CFO of Microsoft’s Business Division, will take over the top CFO chair at the beginning of 2010.

“My time at Microsoft has been an outstanding experience, and I am delighted to be leaving the company in such great shape,” Liddell said, in a statement. “We have built a world-class finance team and established strong internal accountability.”

Liddell took over Microsoft’s CEO position in 2005; during his, Microsoft cut more than $3 billion from its costs as the company worked to shore up profits during the economic downturn; the moves also saw Liddell overseeing the company’s first-ever layoffs, along with salary freezes and cutbacks in employee benefits. Liddell was also controlling the purse strings during Microsoft’s abortive $45 billion effort to take over Yahoo, as well as the company’s $6.5 billion takeover of online advertising and marketing powerhouse aQuantive. Liddell also focused on bolstering Microsoft’s cash reserves: in the most recent fiscal quarter, Liddell helped boost Microsoft’s base of cash and short-term liquid investments to over $36 billion.

Peter Klein currently serves as the CFO of Microsoft’s Business Division, which accounts for some 7,800 employees and almost $19 billion in revenue. Before that, Klein served as CFO of Microsoft’s Server and Tools business. He joined the company in 2002 after a stint as CFO of International Paper Company.

“I’m honored to take on the role of Microsoft CFO,” Klein said, in a statement. “I’ve learned a lot working with Chris, and I’m excited about the opportunities ahead for Microsoft.”