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Chrysler-Fiat unifies leadership

by David Zatz on

sergio marchionneAs expected, Sergio Marchionne announced Fiat and Chrysler’s unified management team, at an event in Italy (covered by Bloomerg) and Italian financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore. Both companies’ operations will be run by regional heads in North America, South America, Europe/Africa, and Asia as of September 1, and a group executive council of 22 leaders will be created to coordinate operations. Marchionne, who is CEO of both Chrysler Group LLC and Fiat Autos SpA, will take charge of North America; he said he plans to merge Fiat and Chrysler, aspiring to $140 billion in combined revenue by 2014, but that the merger will probably not take place this year.

Other regional heads will be:

  • South America: Cledorvino Belini, Fiat’s Brazilian chief
  • Asia: Michael Manley, head of Jeep
  • Europe, Africa, and Middle East (EMEA): Gianni Coda, Fiat’s head of purchasing

The executive committee includes Fiat veterans Alessandro Altavilla, Alessandro Baldi (Fiat treasurer), Stefan Ketter (manufacturing), and Richard Palmer, who will take over as joint CFO.

Fiat owns 53.5% of Chrysler; the union employees’ VEBA (beneficiary association), which was set up as an independent organization, owns 41.5%, due to unfulfilled obligations from Daimler and Cerberus when the VEBA was first set up to relieve Chrysler of certain pension and medical obligations. The rest is currently being held pending the completion of a final milestone. The VEBA has demanded a higher price for its shares than the government has, and requires a higher income than selling to Fiat now would bring to fulfill its own obligations.

Neither Ralph Gilles nor Fred Diaz were named to the committee but SRT and Ram are not separate brands in the new structure. Gilles, head of Chrysler design, and Roberto Giolito, head of Fiat design, will likely report to Lorenzo Ramaciotti, who has been head of Fiat Group and Maserati design since 2007. Diaz will likely report to Reid Bigland, former CEO of Chrysler Canada and recently named to head the Dodge brand. Linda Knoll, who will head Human Relations, comes from CNH, which is now part of Fiat Industrial, the company spun off in January.

Chart source: Il Sole 24 Ore

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