A Post-Marchionne FCA Gets Ready to Name a Dream Team
After the sudden illness of industry titan Sergio Marchionne in late July, Fiat Chrysler enacted some quick changes in order to name a new CEO. Mike Manley, who had helmed powerhouse FCA brands, was installed into the role on July 21st, just four days before Mr. Marchionne’s passing.
Reuters reported this morning that Manley will announce his new team during an event towards the end of this month. Until now, little else has been said about the remainder of FCA’s management roster. In a post-Sergio world, who will head up each of the company’s brands?
At a shareholder meeting called to formally vote on Manley’s appointment as CEO, the new boss said he will reveal his organizational plans later this month. According to Automotive News, Manley’s election as an FCA executive board member was approved by more than 99 percent of the votes cast at the meeting.
“When we learned Sergio Marchionne could not return to work the board decided to appoint Mike Manley, who was the only candidate,” Chairman John Elkann said, before going on to thank shareholders for “this great vote of confidence.”
The chairman added the decision was based on succession plans the board was working on with Marchionne for his planned departure in 2019.
There is every expectation that Manley will remain the CEO chair for a good while, since the man is largely considered to be one of the company’s shining stars after leading Jeep and Ram to much success. He is apparently popular with the company’s dealer body to boot. Before the events of this summer, the board was working on succession plans in preparation for Mr. Marchionne’s planned departure in 2019, which were said to prominently include Manley.
In addition to his role as CEO of the whole shop, Manley is also the interim head of the company’s Europe/Middle East/Africa operations, a role he took on when its steward, Alfredo Altavilla, quit just after Manley took the helm. Take from that what you will but several sources say he was annoyed at being passed over as Marchionne’s replacement.
There are plenty of players to consider both here at home and globally as Manley and the board prepare to shuffle the deck. Someone will need to be chosen to lead Jeep and Ram, for example, a currently combined portfolio that may very well be split in two given the massive impact each of those brands has on the company’s overall health.
Olivier François, currently heads up Fiat while also taking care of marketing, might be given new responsibilities. Tim Kuniskis looks after Alfa and Maserati today, but has had his name pop up in certain circles as a candidate to lead brands with more volume.
Reid Bigland is presently in charge of U.S. sales and could return to the Ram brand given his past experience — but the man has been shuffled around the company over the last few years, for whatever reason. It would be a mistake to ignore the well-known and affable Ralph Gilles as a major player, as well.
We should know more in the next couple of weeks.
[Image: Matthew Guy/TTAC]
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