The 52-year-old will be replaced by Dan Ammann, 38, who is GM's treasurer.
Liddell oversaw GM's historic return to the stock market last year after its 2009 bankruptcy. He was lured from Microsoft as part of a team of new executives expected to inject the Detroit automaker with fresh blood and new ideas, but his abrupt departure now continues a string of upheaval in the executive suite.
“Chris was a major contributor during a pivotal time in the company's history," Dan Akerson, GM chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “He guided the company's IPO process and established a good financial foundation for the future.