FCA's Friendly Giant Given Keys to Alfa Romeo, Maserati

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson
fcas i friendly giant i given keys to alfa romeo maserati

Look up, waaaay up.

Human redwood and former Canadian junior hockey star Reid Bigland adds yet another set of responsibilities to his resume thanks to an executive shuffle at FCA.

Bigland replaces Harald Wester as CEO of both Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands effective immediately, though Wester retains his Chief Technology Officer position with the group. Both men will continue to sit on the Group Executive Council, which has increasingly insulated Sergio Marchionne from regional brand operations.

Bigland counts Head of U.S. Sales and Chief Executive of FCA Canada as his other continuing roles with the company. In the past, Bigland has been head of the Alfa Romeo brand in North America, and global head of Ram and Dodge brands.

“I am thankful for the work Harald has carried out in the last few years establishing a sound technical framework for our two premium brands and which has culminated in the recent launch of the Maserati Levante and the Alfa Romeo Giulia,” said group CEO Sergio Marchionne in a statement announcing the shuffle.

FCA poses the change as the next phase in Marchionne’s plan to rekindle a relationship between American buyers and FCA’s Italian luxury brands.

“It is time now for our efforts to be directed towards the global commercial expansion of these two brands, and I can think of no one better than Reid to fulfill that mission. Reid has an extraordinary record of growing sales and market share in the US and Canada over the last 7 years at FCA, including leading the growth and positioning of the Ram and Dodge brands for part of that time.”

Both brands have new models in the wings, but they’ve been plagued with setbacks. The Alfa Romeo Giulia, initially expected to hit dealer lots this year, won’t arrive until early 2017, reports Automotive News. FCA hopes the Levante, Maserati’s first SUV, will lift that brand’s profitability amid sales drops in the United States and Europe.

The shuffle comes seven months after similar executive moves left former Fiat North American chief Jason Stoicevich on the outside looking in. Stoicevich left the company shortly after the October shuffle.

Analysts expect Marchionne, 63, to retire in the next couple years. With this latest move, Bigland rises yet again as a possible successor, competing for Marchionne’s soon-to-be-vacated seat with Mike Manley, head of Ram and Jeep, and Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger car brands.

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6 of 12 comments
  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on May 24, 2016

    We need more executives for all these Alfas we sell all over!

  • Olddavid Olddavid on May 24, 2016

    The children's show reference is lost on 300 million south of the border.

    • See 3 previous
    • FreedMike FreedMike on May 25, 2016

      @BklynPete The workers have all struck for fame, 'cause Lennon's on sale again.

  • Wjtinfwb Didn't care for the E60 when introduced, compared to the previous generation. But up against some of BMW's latest offerings (new 7), it's a breath of fresh air. This car with a conventional 6-speed manual would be another 10-15k at least as it looks very well kept.
  • SPPPP Very nice shape, but I just never warmed to the E60 car like I did the earlier generations of the 5-series, or the contemporary 3-series.
  • Mike Beranek They're building a brand-new "vending machine" in Schaumburg, right on my way home from work. Maybe after they go belly up, I could buy it, build out living space on the top floor, and use the rest to display my awesome car collection (ha!)
  • VoGhost We're at the point where the stock price is no longer relevant; focus on how the debt is priced.
  • MaintenanceCosts Nice color combo. Worth noting that this is not a conventional automatic but an automated manual, which gets you all the roughness of a real manual with none of the fun. Also not sure why everyone loves the V10 so much; it sounds more UPS truck than performance car except at the extreme high end of the tach. Having said that the E60's looks have aged VERY well; the car looks nicer now than it did when it was new.