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Chrysler announces new board members

by Bill Cawthon on

Chrysler Group announced the completion of its nine-member Board of Directors, the group that will provide oversight to the Chrysler Group.

Joining C. Robert Kidder, acting Chairman of the Board who was appointed in May, will be:

Alfredo Altavilla, the Chief Executive Officer of Fiat Powertrain Technologies and Senior Vice President of Business Development of Fiat Group Automobiles. He joined Fiat Auto in 1990 as manager of product development, playing roles of increasing responsibility in the field of international ventures and strategic planning.

James J. Blanchard, Partner and Co-Chairman, Regulatory and Government Affairs at DLA Piper, one of the world’s largest law firms. He is former ambassador to Canada, served two terms as governor of Michigan and four terms as a member of the United States Congress.

George F.J. Gosbee, Chairman, CEO and President of Tristone Capital Inc., a global energy advisory firm that provides fully integrated investment banking, property acquisitions & divestitures, and global equity capital markets services. Mr. Gosbee founded the firm in 2000, creating a unique model to assist oil and gas companies by combining technical expertise with financial professionals.

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler Group LLC since June 2009. Previously, he was appointed Chairman of CNH Case New Holland in April 2006 and CEO of Fiat Group Automobiles in February 2005. He was appointed CEO of Fiat S.p.A. in June 2004 and has been a Member of the Board since May 2003. He is Chairman of SGS Group of Geneva, and among other positions he was CEO of SGS Group of Geneva and was Chairman and CEO of Lonza Group Ltd.

Douglas Steenland, former CEO of Northwest Airlines. He joined Northwest Airlines in 1991 as Vice President and Deputy General Counsel. After becoming CEO in 2004, he successfully reshaped Northwest Airlines into a financially viable airline. Mr. Steenland also worked as a Senior Partner at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson, and Hand and served in the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Scott Stuart, a founding partner of Sageview Capital LLC, and former partner and member of the investment committee at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company (KKR). He currently serves on the board of EverBank Financial Corp., Aveos Fleet Performance Inc. and previously served on such boards as Borden Chemical, Inc., Duracell International Inc., Nabisco, Inc. and Sealy Corporation.

Ronald L. Thompson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA), a for-profit life insurance company that serves the retirement and financial needs of faculty and employees of colleges and universities, hospitals, cultural institutions and other non-profit organizations. He previously owned and operated Midwest Stamping Company of Maumee, Ohio, and rapidly grew the business into a first tier automotive supplier and one of the largest minority-owned companies in the U.S.

Stephen Wolf, Chairman of R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. His career in the aviation industry began in 1966 with American Airlines. After positions at Pan American World Airways, Continental Airlines and Republic Airlines, he served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of UAL Corporation and United Air Lines, Inc. from 1987 to 1994. He became Managing Partner of Alpilles LLC in 2003.

“The formal creation of our Board of Directors is another important step toward building a viable Chrysler Group for the long term,” said Kidder. “Our board members bring a wealth of talent and experience in areas such as transportation, finance and investing, energy and government. We will work together as a Board of Directors to support Chrysler Group’s success to the benefit of all stakeholders.”

Kidder himself currently serves on the boards of Morgan Stanley, where he is the lead director, Schering-Plough Corporation, and Microvi Biotech Inc. He previously served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of both Duracell International Inc. and Borden Chemical Inc. and as director of such companies as Electronic Data Systems Corporation and General Signal Corporation. During his tenure with McKinsey and Co. Inc., he worked with a major OEM client in the automotive industry. He currently is Chairman and CEO of 3Stone Advisors LLC, an investment firm that focuses on clean-tech companies.

“While Chrysler Group LLC is a private company, the Board is focused on supplying the strong governance that would be expected of a public company,” Kidder said. “We are looking forward to working as a single team to provide the oversight, guidance and expertise that will help make Chrysler Group successful.”

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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