Liddell to Work on Margins
TBR believes the addition of New Zealander Chris Liddell as Microsoft’s CFO should help usher in an era of growing operating margins and a tightening of the fiscal belt. In TBR’s opinion, the hiring of Liddell, direct from the forest industry, will bring a relatively-low margin operation mindset to Microsoft. Specifically, TBR believes Liddell will reduce expenses brought on board during Microsoft’s growth stage. During a difficult operating environment and faced with unfavorable currency headwinds, Liddell was still able to increase International Paper Co.’s operating margin 18% from 2003 to 2004, even when revenue grew only 6.5. TBR predicts Microsoft’s operating margins could expand significantly during the next one to three years as Liddell brings a more mature and responsible fiscal management culture to the company. Chris Liddell holds an engineering degree from the University of Auckland and a master of philosophy degree from Oxford University in England. Chris was a prime mover in The Knowledge Wave and an instigator of the progressive think tank The New Zealand Institute.