Ex-GM financial chief promoted at White House

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — General Motors’ former vice president and chief financial officer has been named a deputy chief of staff at the White House.

Christopher P. Liddell will serve as deputy chief of staff for policy coordination under Chief of Staff John Kelly, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a Monday statement.

Liddell had been working as assistant to the president and director of strategic initiatives for the White House, having joined the administration during the transition as special adviser on presidential appointments in January 2017.

“Chris is widely respected across the administration and is highly qualified to oversee and coordinate our policy process. We look forward to having him in this new role,” Kelly said in a statement.

He has managed the Republican administration’s efforts to modernize the government’s information technology systems and became involved in the administration’s “deregulation efforts,” Sanders said.

“He has extensive experience managing large organizations and has already overseen a number of interagency processes in the White House,” she said.

“In his new role, Chris will manage the policy process as we continue to enact the president’s agenda.”

Liddell’s work in the Office of American Innovation, which is run by the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, would continue, Sanders said. Liddell will also oversee the policy process for that office, which is tasked with recommending plans to improve government operations and create jobs.

Liddell joined GM in January 2010, six months after the Detroit automaker filed for bankruptcy reorganization and the Obama White House named former AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre as the corporation’s chairman. Liddle was CFO during the company’s return to Wall Street in November of that year with a $20.1 billion initial public offering.

He left GM roughly four months after the IPO, having told colleagues and some members of the news media that he wanted to be GM’s CEO – a position that went to Daniel Akerson, who served through 2013.

Liddell also served as director of transition planning for Mitt Romney’s Republican campaign during the 2012 presidential election cycle.

He had served as CFO of Microsoft and International Paper.

A New Zealand native, Liddell had been mentioned recently as a potential successor to Gary Cohn as head of President Donald Trump’s National Economic Council. Cohn resigned after Trump announced he planned to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum and has been replaced by former CNBC economics commentator Lawrence Kudlow.