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Ex-Microsoft CFO takes Xero chairman role

FORMER MICROSOFT chief financial officer Chris Liddell has taken on the role of chairman at online financial software business Xero.

The appointment is part of a US expansion plan by New Zealand-based Xero. The IT giant also recruited executive vice-president at Hewlett-Packard, Bill Veghte as a US-based director; and former PayPal general manager Peter Karpas who will lead the US team as CEO of North America.

Chairman Liddell was most recently at car manufacturer General Motors as vice-chairman and CFO, titles he held upon joining the business in January 2010. While at GM, Liddell led the company’s $23bn (£13.8bn) IPO in November 2010.

Prior to General Motors Liddell worked as senior VP and CFO at Microsoft for four years to 2009. He has also held CFO roles at paper manufacturer International Paper and wood products manufactuer Carter Holt Harvey – later becoming its CEO.

Xero CEO and founder Rod Drury said: “As you would expect from a fast expanding software company, our strategy is to increase US representation on our board.

“These three high calibre appointments are all significant additions to our American-based leadership team and position us strongly in the US and globally. Adding their combined experience and capabilities will help us become the global leader in small business financial software.”

New York-based Liddell succeeds Sam Knowles, who leaves to pursue other opportunities.

Xero’s customer base is largely the SME sector with its main competitor FTSE 100 business Sage. 

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