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GM Says New CFO Is a Candidate For CEO Post

General Motors new chief financial officer will be a candidate for the CEO job, and GM expects to bring back hundreds of dealers who lost their franchises, the interim CEO said Wednesday.

Chris Liddell
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Chris Liddell

Chairman and interim CEO Ed Whitacre also said he's not optimistic that GM will be able to sell its troubled Swedish Saab brand, and that efforts are under way to close it.

Whitacre said during a meeting with reporters in Detroit that he would consider Chris Liddell, the CFO hired from the same post at Microsoft, in the search for a new CEO.

Liddell, 51, announced before GM hired him that he would leave Microsoft to pursue a higher-ranking position.

Liddell was hired late last month as CFO, the first permanent top manager hired from outside the traditionally insular GM since the company left bankruptcy protection in July. He replaced Ray Young, who transferred to GM's China operations.

At Microsoft, Liddell developed a reputation for holding down costs while building up cash. He instituted a plan to cut $3 billion from the technology company last year that included its first mass layoff, wage freezes and cuts in travel and other expenses.

GM is majority owned by the federal government and Liddell was granted an exemption from government imposed pay caps to take his post. He will be paid $750,000 this year, but will get up to another $5.45 million in stock starting in 2012 if GM successfully sells its shares to the public.

Whitacre also said he is not optimistic for a deal to sell its Swedish Saab brand. GM is phasing out Saab and expects to start closing plants this week.

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