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|White House Director of Strategic Initiatives|
20 January 2017
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Born||Christopher Pell Liddell
24 April 1958
Matamata, New Zealand
|Residence||New York City, NY, USA|
|Education||University of Auckland
University of Oxford
Christopher Pell Liddell CNZM (born 24 April 1958) is a New Zealand-born US-citizen businessman and philanthropist, who serves as Assistant to the President of the United States, Donald Trump, and is the Director of Strategic Initiatives in the White House. He has been the Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of General Motors (GM) and CFO of Microsoft, Senior Vice President and CFO of International Paper, and CFO of William Morris Endeavor (WME/IMG).
Liddell was born in Matamata, the youngest of five siblings. His father was a school teacher and died while Liddell was still young. His mother brought up the children by working a variety of jobs, including at Smith & Caughey's in Auckland. Liddell received his secondary education at Mount Albert Grammar School; he is described as "academically bright". He holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree with honors from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and a Master of Philosophy degree from Oxford University in England.
He started his career working from 1983 to 1995 as an investment banker and rose to Joint CEO and Managing Director of CS First Boston NZ.
From 1999 to 2002, he was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Carter Holt Harvey, an Asian Pacific forest products firm, then New Zealand’s second largest listed company with exports to Japan, China and Korea. He had been CFO of Carter Holt Harvey from 1995 to 1998.
In 2010 he was awarded New Zealand Business Leader of the Year.
In January 2010 Liddell joined General Motors (GM) and led the company's global finance operations, including the $23 billion GM initial public offering (IPO), at the time the largest ever. Previously, Liddell was a Senior Vice President and CFO of Microsoft where, from 2005 to December 2009, he was responsible for leading their worldwide finance organization. His responsibilities included overseeing corporate strategy, acquisitions, treasury activities, tax planning, accounting and reporting, internal audits and investor relations. Prior to Microsoft, from 2003 to 2005, Liddell served as CFO of International Paper. Since 2014, he has been working as the CFO of WME-IMG, a privately held company, in the media, sports and entertainment industry.
In 2012, Liddell was Executive Director of Transition Planning for the Romney Presidential Campaign. Liddell is a recognized authority on presidential transitions and the author of Romney Readiness Project: Retrospectives and Lessons Learned. He also was a director and treasurer of the Romney for President fundraising campaign, a joint fundraising vehicle with the Republican National Committee (RNC). In January 2017 he was appointed as one of Donald Trump's assistants for the White House.
Liddell is Chairman of Next Foundation, one of New Zealand's largest philanthropic foundations focused on education and environmental projects. He is also Chairman of Xero, a cloud software company.
He was chairman of Project Crimson, a conservation group, and is active in a number of environmental projects in New Zealand, such as the restoration of Rotoroa Island and the Abel Tasman National Park.
He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He was also a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission's Advisory Committee on Improvements to Financial Reporting. He currently sits on the board of trustees of the Collegiate School in New York City.