By on October 13, 2015


Like Al Pacino in “The Godfather 2,” Sergio Marchionne’s move to insulate himself further and tap future successors has claimed another victim. On Monday, former Fiat North American chief Jason Stoicevich resigned from the automaker, days after he was replaced as head of Fiat by Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis.

Stoicevich was a longtime FCA employee, heading up the automaker’s California sales office and former head of Jeep operations before that.

His departure is the latest in a company-wide shakeup to consolidate most North American brands between fewer brand chiefs.

According to the company, Kuniskis will take over responsibility for North American cars, including Fiat and Chrysler, in addition to his responsibilities as Dodge brand chief. Kuniskis will also earn a seat at Marchionne’s head executive table, alongside other brand managers and operations chiefs.

Former Chrysler in America head Al Gardner will direct network development in North America.

Jeep boss and Asian Pacific chief operating officer Mike Manley will take over Ram truck brand in addition to his current duties. Manley is one of two FCA executives with two roles on Marchionne’s Group Executive Council; Olivier Francois is head of Fiat brand worldwide and chief marketing officer.

Former Ram boss Bob Hegbloom will stay head of Ram in North America, but will now report to Manley instead of Marchionne.

Square-jawed football captain and head of Alfa Romeo, FCA Canada and NAFTA sales chief Reid Bigland will take over as head of NAFTA fleet as well.

(Bigland and former all-pro fullback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mike Alstott still have not yet been seen in the same room at the same time.)

It’s unclear where Stoicevich may land after his departure from Fiat.

Analysts say that the shakeup may be looking to find a successor for Marchionne when he eventually departs. The 63-year-old chief said last year that he would step down in 2018, however reports recently said Marchionne could stay on to 2020.

Manley, Bigland and Kuniskis are part of a General Executive Council that includes 20 other members.

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17 Comments on “Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Leadership Shakeup: Fiat NA Chief Quits...”

  • avatar

    I bet he’ll stay until age 70, or until a successful* merger happens.

    *Meaning large golden parachute package to him upon retirement.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    I’m not surprised that the Fiat North American chief is gone. He came in after the 500 launch, and everything since has been bungled. The 500 is still doing OK for an older specialty model, but the 500L is a sales disaster, and the 500x will not do as well as predicted (I suspect that sales mostly go to the Renegade, so no loss overall for FCA).

    Fiat has a lot going for it. It’s the only Big 3 brand that appeals and sells to the majority of car shoppers that never shop Big 3 car. The 500 sells at a huge premium compared to other sub-compacts (Spark, Fiesta).

    It’s the first time in a generation that any American brand has been able to sell to “import shoppers,” let that sink in.

    How do you mess that up? You release the 500L which is not a good looking car, and then you release another 500-inspired SUV, and equip-it in such a way that you need to spend Q3/GLA money to get something decent. People would probably pay that for a fresh-looking car, but not for something that looks to everyone like a bloated version of an $18k car.

    Fiat NA really needs fresh thinking. The 500 should be the only 500-looking car in the lineup. Their crossover should look distinct and European, the 500L is redundant (it’s within an inch of the 500X in most dimensions), they could easily release a sedan on the Dart platform that brings-in Jetta and Civic shoppers.

  • avatar

    Paragraphs. They are a beautiful thing.

  • avatar

    What is Marchionne saying and signalling?

    “Yes, he looks like a linebacker and his name is Bigland but his willie is just this big.”

  • avatar

    This thing is unraveling faster than Sergio’s sweater.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not sure that analogy is entirely apt. Have we seen evidence that Marchionne’s sweaters are unraveling?

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, this is exactly one of the things I had been hoping for, a shake-up.

      Maybe what we’re seeing here is a beginning to the shake-out that the UAW and their employers so badly need to settle this once and for all.

      In terms of: either the UAW is a partner with their employers OR the UAW and their employers are adversaries in which case the UAW will have the upper hand with their ability to strike and extort whatever they want from their employers to the point of bankrupting them.

      The other path the employers could take is to move more jobs OUT of union territory, or to Mexico to permanently resolve this with a little help from NAFTA.

  • avatar

    God, Sergio, lose the wino trim.

  • avatar

    Sometimes the heartache that comes from trying to build vehicles from substandard parts, not one of which cost more than $23.68 and arrive in off-color crushed cardboard boxes from Tier 8 suppliers in China, becomes too much.

    Stoicevich no doubt resigned to pursue other pursuits, like living far away from Marchionne and designing artisanal soups made with only the finest ingredients. The personal relief is no doubt palpable.

  • avatar

    I was driving a 2004 MINI Cooper S, it had 145k on it. I saw the 60 Minutes interview they did with him, Marchionne, and a I thought seems like a OK guy, maybe “Tony Fixed it!”.

    So I sold my MINI, bought a 2012 Abarth. I have 30k on it and mine has been pretty much bulletproof, my dealer, I mean Studio, fixed a broken window regulator. Now that Studio is closed. I have a Fiat Facebook page. I see lots of dealerships closing, really bad service and cars been held for weeks waiting for parts.

    Other than the fact that, for me, the car is horribly uncomfortable, hard leather seats, I like the performance though I had to add a 28mm anti torsion bar to get it to handle anywhere near my MINI’s.

    Recently I decided I’d had enuff of small hatches. I owned MINI’s since 2002, and wanted to buy a Fiat X. I put the car in Craig’s Lists, AutoTrader and one other site. In 4 weeks I had two offers of $8k, $8k this for a car that cost me $25,000.00. It had 25k on the OD, no problems and nice rims (17″) Sparco’s with no body damage, sun roof, stripes, red. So I went to my local studio, this was before they closed, they also offered me $8k. So the car is worthless. I only owe $6500 and will be getting rid of it when it’s paid off. Might get a X depending on reports or MINI Countryman.

    So to sum up… Did “Tony Fix It?”…???

  • avatar

    Hasn’t Sergio done this before, with Fiat? The turnover makes it hard to build a fiefdom or power base like at Ford and especially GM. That’s the beneficial part. The destructive part is that reorganizations disrupt normal operations and make cooperation with other divisions more difficult.

    Playing executives off each other for a seat at Sergio’s “head executive table” works for the guy on top, but Sergio has the full backing of the scion of the Agnelli family and doesn’t need to do that to keep his job. Maybe he just enjoys keeping his underlings off-balance?

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