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Marchionne: Chrysler-Fiat merger possible (updated)

by David Zatz on

Sergio Marchionne back-stepped from earlier statements that Fiat and Chrysler would remain separate entities at a roundtable earlier today, according to Automotive News’ Bradford Wernle.

Marchionne was quoted as saying, “Who knows? In the next two or three years, we could be looking at one entity. It could be based here.”

This was mentioned as one of numerous alternatives and scenarios. “First we need to integrate them operationally, and then look at governance.”

The transcribed portion of his speech includes numerous interesting notes, especially starting around halfway into the document, including:

Everyone knows that Chrysler and Fiat are two very different companies.

They each have their own unique history and represent two worlds, two cultures, two distinct fonts of experience and know-how.

But it is exactly the differences between two companies that constitute the strength of the partnership, because the two groups are perfectly complementary in terms of products, architectures, know-how and geographic presence.

The alliance is leveraging core competencies on both sides, with a clear definition of responsibilities to enable the two groups to maximize cost efficiencies in development, engineering and manufacturing. …

What I have learned from my experiences as a Chief Executive in a decade and a half is that a change in culture is something much deeper and longer-lasting than a simple change in strategy, in industrial or commercial practices.

This is the only secret I know.

It is the only guarantee to build something solid and lasting, that resides in the DNA strands of the people that make up the organization. …

Recently, a couple of trade publications raised the issue of a succession plan for Chrysler and Fiat. As one journal delicately put it – what happens if I step off a curb and get hit by a bus? This is an example of the tendency to mythologize chief executives. The myth is based on the mistaken image of one great man who resolves all of an organization’s problems by himself. …

In one interview, I asked a man to tell me his previous experience in the automotive industry. He told me this: “First I worked for the worst car company in the world. Then I worked for the best car company in the world. And then I worked again for the worst.”

You may have guessed that the point is, he had never changed jobs. He had been at Chrysler his entire career.

I want to leave you with the knowledge that our commitment is to put down a solid foundation for the new Chrysler, a foundation rooted in values on which a better, more reliable and certain future can be built.

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