Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell leaving

Dancers scale the wall of a New York building to promote the launch of the long-awaited Vista operating system from Microsoft on Monday, Jan. 29, 2007 in New York. The software goes on sale Tuesday. Vista launches for consumers at midnight Monday as Microsoft hosts a series of events around the country. Story expected by mid-morning with Bill Gates one-on-one interview. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
AP Photo
This story was written by CNET's Tom Krazit.

Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell is leaving the company at the end of the year, the company announced Tuesday.

Liddell has been Microsoft's CFO since 2005, but the past 18 months have been especially long, as Microsoft debated whether to acquire Yahoo and navigated the choppy waters of the recession with its first-ever layoffs. He will be replaced by Peter Klein, who had been serving as CFO of the company's Business Division, which develops and sells
Microsoft Office.

In a statement, Liddell said he was looking to do something with his career beyond serving in the chief finance role.

"Chris and his finance team have accomplished a great deal over the past four and a half years. The team is deep and strong, and has an excellent record of building value for our shareholders," CEO Steve Ballmer said in prepared remarks distributed by Microsoft.

As of the close of Tuesday's stock market, the value of Microsoft's stock had increased by 18 percent since Liddell made his debut as CFO.