Chris Lidell

Microsoft Loses Its CFO, Promotes From Within

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Microsoft is losing its chief financial officer, Chris Liddell (pictured right), who will be departing the company at the end of the year. Liddell will be replaced by Peter Klein, the current CFO of Microsoft’s Business Division.

Lidell joined in May, 2005 from International Paper. The stock is at about the same place as when he joined. Liddell has overseen a period of cost-cutting and stock buybacks at Microsoft.

Klein heads up finance for Microsoft’s largest division, which includes the Office business. Last quarter, the Business Division brought in $4.4 billion in revenues and $2.9 billion in operating income, which was nearly twice as much profits as Microsoft’s Windows business. Microsoft is handing over the corporate CFO spot to the man with the most individual financial responsibility in the company.

Lidell will remain at Microsoft through the end of the year to oversee the transition.

Microsoft’s next earnings report will be crucial as it comes off another down quarter. Some of the decreases in the company’s Windows business were due to the building anticipation leading into the Windows 7 launch last month. Early reports of Windows 7 sales have been positive, but it’s still too early in the product’s lifespan to call it a hit.

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