General Motors Co said on Monday it had hired Chris Liddell, the chief financial officer of Microsoft Corp , as its new finance chief, filling a key position with the automaker's highest-profile hire since its July bankruptcy.

GM said Liddell, 51, would start at GM in January. He had previously announced that he would be leaving Microsoft at the end of December.

At Microsoft Liddell, a New Zealand native, had been responsible for the software giant's corporate strategy, treasury, accounting and investor relations. He joined Microsoft in 2005.

GM has faced sharp criticism for its financial management in recent years. Former Chief Executive Fritz Henderson, who had been chief financial officer, was dismissed by the automaker's board earlier this month.

His successor as CFO, Ray Young, was reassigned to GM's international operations in Shanghai earlier this month.

With the hire of Liddell, GM's acting chief executive and chairman, Ed Whitacre, has put together a new team of top managers that reports to him on the automaker's progress in restructuring after taking $50 billion in U.S. government aid.

Whitacre had cautioned that federal pay restrictions were complicating GM's search for outside hires for key executive positions, but said last week that the company had found a replacement for Young.

(Editing by Matthew Lewis)