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GM’s new CFO to make $750K initially

December 24, 2009

GM’s new CFO to make $750K initially

The Detroit News

General Motors Co.’s new chief financial officer Christopher Liddell will be paid $750,000 in cash and receive stock awards worth much more if GM recovers.

Liddell, now CFO of software giant Microsoft Corp., stands to get as much as $5.45 million in GM stock starting in 2012, the U.S. automaker said Wednesday in a regulatory filing.

GM said Kenneth Feinberg, the Obama administration’s special master for compensation at companies that received federal aid, had approved Liddell’s pay package.

Liddell, 51, is GM Chairman and CEO Edward Whitacre Jr.’s first major hire. In addition to being CFO, replacing Ray Young, Liddell also will be vice chairman — and presumably a candidate to be a future CEO. Whitacre became GM’s chief executive this month after pushing out former President and CEO Fritz Henderson. He has said he does not want to be a long-term CEO of GM.

According to the automaker’s 8-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Liddell will receive a portion of his salary in stock worth $3.45 million that will be delivered over three years starting in 2012.

He also will receive stock grants valued at $2 million, which may be redeemed starting in 2012 at the same rate at which GM repays its federal loans totaling $6.7 billion. Whitacre said he wants the loans repaid by July.

GM received $52 billion in government money, but most of the loans were converted into equity giving the U.S. government a 60 percent stake in the company.

Last week, GM repaid $1 billion, its first payment to the government, and top company officials have said they expect GM to launch a public share offering within two years.

Liddell’s compensation exceeds the limits set for companies that received federal aid. Those limits capped the base pay for GM executives at $500,000, but the system permits exemptions.

Liddell stands to earn more at GM than he did at Microsoft, where his yearly compensation came to $2.4 million, including $561,667 in cash, according to wire reports.

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