Microsoft CFO Liddell to leave by year-end

Microsoft Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Chris Liddell is leaving Microsoft after four years to pursue other interests, company officials announced via a November 24 press release issued quietly just before the start of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Microsoft Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Chris Liddell is leaving Microsoft after four years to pursue other interests, company officials announced via a November 24 press release issued quietly just before the start of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Liddell, whose last day is December 31, is being replaced by Peter Klein, the CFO of Microsoft's Business Division (the unit that manages Office).

Microsoft officials attributed Liddell's departure to his interest in "pursuing opportunities outside of Microsoft that will expand his career beyond being a CFO."

Liddell has helped pilot Microsoft through some choppy financial waters over the past few years, and was part of the team behind Microsoft's first widescale layoffs.

Some shareholders and company observers -- pointing to Microsoft's continued stalled stock price -- have been calling increasingly for CEO Steve Ballmer's replacement. I wonder whether Liddell's departure will appease the anti-Ballmer camp, or whether it will give Microsoft watchers even more cause for worry about the company's future strategic direction.