Chris Liddell

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Chris Liddell
Chris Liddell official photo.jpg
White House Deputy Chief of Staff
for Policy Coordination
Assumed office
March 19, 2018
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byRick Dearborn (Policy)
Personal details
Christopher Pell Liddell

(1958-04-24) April 24, 1958 (age 61)
Matamata, New Zealand
Political partyRepublican
EducationUniversity of Auckland (BEng)
Worcester College, Oxford (MPhil)

Christopher Pell Liddell CNZM (born April 24, 1958) is a New Zealand-born US-citizen businessman and philanthropist, who currently serves as White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination in the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. Earlier in the administration he served as Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives.[1]

He has served as 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).[2]

Early life[edit]

Liddell was born in Matamata, New Zealand, 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.[3] Liddell received his secondary education at Mount Albert Grammar School; he is described as "academically bright".[3] Liddell is the only student in the history of the school to have been both Dux (academic champion) and Victor Ludorum (sporting champion), also being awarded the prize for the best player in the rugby First XV.[4] He holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree with honors from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and a Master of Philosophy degree from Worcester College, Oxford in England.[5]


New Zealand[edit]

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.[6]

In 1995, Liddell trained for and completed the 1995 IRONMAN New Zealand Triathlon.[7]

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 South Korea.[8] He had been CFO of Carter Holt Harvey from 1995 to 1998.

In 2010 he was awarded New Zealand Business Leader of the Year.[9]

In the 2016 New Year Honours, Liddell was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and philanthropy.[10]

United States[edit]

In January 2010 Liddell joined General Motors (GM) as CFO and led the company's global finance operations, including the successful $23 billion GM initial public offering (IPO), at the time the largest in history.[11] 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.[12] Prior to Microsoft, from 2003 to 2005, Liddell served as CFO of International Paper.[13] Since 2014, he has been working as the CFO of WME-IMG, a privately held company, in the media, sports and entertainment industry.[14]

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.[15] He also was a director and treasurer of the Romney for President fundraising campaign, a joint fundraising vehicle with the Republican National Committee (RNC).[16]

In January 2017 he was appointed as Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives in Donald Trump's White House,[17][18][19][20][21][22][23] on a salary of $30,000.[24] He was appointed to the Office of American Innovation (OAI) when it was established on March 27, 2017, by virtue of his White House position. He was one of the four-person operational team of the OAI led by Jared Kushner, as of July 2017, where he was focusing on federal IT modernization.[25]

In March 2018 he was picked to replace Rick Dearborn as White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy.[1]


A native of New Zealand, Liddell has served as director of the New Zealand Rugby Union.[26]

In 2017, Chris and his brother John Liddell donated $1 million to Mount Albert Grammar. [27] Later that year, Liddell donated $450,000 to Auckland University to fund a postgraduate scholarship to Worcester College, Oxford.[28]

Liddell was chairman of both the Next Foundation and of Xero, a cloud software company, but was forced to resign from these roles to take up his position with the Trump administration. [29]

He was chairman of Project Crimson,[30] 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.[31] He was also a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission's Advisory Committee on Improvements to Financial Reporting.


  1. ^ a b Restuccia, Andrew; Johnson, Eliana (March 19, 2018). "Kelly taps Kushner ally Chris Liddell as deputy chief for policy". Politico.
  2. ^ "WME / IMG Adds Chris Liddell as CFO". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Read, Ellen (January 23, 2017). "Trump's Kiwi man of mystery Donald Trump's assistant Chris Liddell 'driven and very smart'". The Press. p. A9. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  4. ^ Hepburn, Graham (March 21, 2018). "New White House role for Chris Liddell".
  5. ^ "WME / IMG Adds Chris Liddell as CFO". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  6. ^ Lublin, John D. Stoll And Joann S. (December 22, 2009). "GM Taps Microsoft's Finance Chief". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  7. ^ "{0} Results".
  8. ^ "New CEO to lead Carter Holt Harvey | Scoop News". Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  9. ^ Dann, Liam (December 11, 2010). "Business Leader of the Year 2010: Chris Liddell". New Zealand Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  10. ^ "New Year Honours 2016 - Citations for Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit | DPMC". Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  11. ^ "Timeline: General Motors Stock Since 2010 Initial Public Offering". Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  12. ^ "Chris Liddell - CFO @ General Motors | crunchbase". Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  13. ^ Paper, International. "International Paper Promotes Chris Liddell to Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer". Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  14. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (July 30, 2014). "WME/IMG Names Corporate Vet CFO as Agency Faces Post-Merger Scrutiny". Variety. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  15. ^ "NZ's Chris Liddell reveals extent of Romney role - and refuses to join doom merchants". The National Business Review. November 11, 2012. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  16. ^ Parker, Ashley (August 16, 2012). "Mitt Romney's Transition Team Is Hard at Work". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  17. ^ "Kiwi businessman Chris Liddell appointed as one of Donald Trump's assistants". New Zealand Herald. January 18, 2017. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  18. ^ O'Sullivan, Fran. "Kiwi businessman Chris Liddell appointed as Donald Trump's assistant". Newstalk ZB. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  19. ^ "Kiwi businessman Chris Liddell named as assistant to Donald Trump". Stuff. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  20. ^ "From Matamata to the White House: Kiwi man appointed senior aide to Donald Trump". 1 NEWS NOW. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  21. ^ Balakrishnan, Anita (January 17, 2017). "Former Microsoft CFO joins Trump administration". CNBC. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  22. ^ "Kiwi named in Trump's team". Radio New Zealand. January 18, 2017. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  23. ^ "New Year's honour for former Microsoft and GM executive Christopher Liddell". Stuff. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  24. ^ Bindrim, Kira (July 1, 2017). "All of Donald Trump's White House staffers, ranked by salary". Quartz. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  25. ^ Scola, Nancy (July 1, 2017). "What Jared's office actually does". Politico. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  26. ^ "New Year Honours: Chris Liddell - A proud Kiwi made good". New Zealand Herald. December 31, 2015. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  27. ^ "Donald Trump's assistant Chris Liddell 'driven and very smart'". Stuff.
  28. ^ @OBuckleton, Ophelia Buckleton Reporter, NZ Herald (November 24, 2017). "Trump's Kiwi adviser Chris Liddell donates $450,000 to Auckland University" – via
  29. ^ "Google". Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  30. ^ "Carter Holt gives 245ha block to Project Crimson". New Zealand Herald. March 14, 2001. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  31. ^ "Membership Roster - Council on Foreign Relations". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
Political offices
Preceded by
Rick Dearborn
White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy