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Interview: Tavares likely to rule FCA-PSA OK

by David Zatz on

Automotive News interviewed the future leader of FCA-PSA (whose actual name has yet to be determined) about the future of the merged companies (full story/requires subscription).

The industry magazine pointed out that Tavares had turned Opel around, from losses to 5% operating margins, in under two years. He said he already has a relationship with FCA CEO Mike Manley, and that there should not be immediate, major changes to FCA or PSA because “neither is currently in crisis.” Mike Manley continue to run FCA; he reported that “with such a high level of things to be achieved, we would need all of [the current top executives].”

One goal of the merger is economies of scale and purchasing power in buying batteries and other items, as well as shared research and development.

The organization will run on a matrix structure, with overlaps between regions, brands, and functions—a complicated structure. Tavares said he stresses teamwork, flexibility, and agility; and, unlike Sergio Marchionne, he seems to delegate quite a bit of responsibility. Tavares appears to understand that giving people more autonomy means that the executives have more time for their own decision-making and tasks. After pushing power downwards, he reported making fewer decisions, and providing guidance where needed.

In short, it appears that Tavares will be a welcome counter to Sergio Marchionne’s shortcomings; while he unquestionably turned Chrysler around,  Marchionne could micromanage and seemed reluctant to give up any power. Since Chrysler has thrived when  power was pushed to the lowest possible level, as in the mid-1990s or in various “skunkworks” projects, Tavares’ style may be very helpful indeed.


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