Bigland Out! Ram Boss Departs Fiat Chrysler in April
Reid Bigland, the towering Fiat Chrysler exec who made waves by suing his employer last year, has announced he’s leaving the company after 22 years of service. His last day will be April 3rd.
Head of U.S. sales, the Ram brand, and president and CEO of FCA Canada, Bigland was once seen as a potential replacement for late CEO Sergio Marchionne, but a spat with his employer tainted the longstanding relationship. That lawsuit apparently came to a head earlier this year.
Bigland filed a whistleblower lawsuit against FCA in June of 2019, claiming the company was withholding rightful compensation after making him the “fall guy” for the automaker’s dodgy sales reporting practices — a years-long spell of number fudging that predated his tenure, and which eventually led to the company issuing corrected figures.
It became clear late last year that Bigland had no intention of letting the issue slide, making his continued presence in Auburn Hills unlikely. Bigland will now depart to “pursue interests outside of FCA,” the automaker said in a statement.
The split is more amicable than one would assume; according to Automotive News, Bigland’s lawyer, Deborah Gordon, said her client and FCA reached a resolution earlier this year. No further details on that, sadly. A company spokesperson would only say that the matter was put to rest “to the satisfaction of all parties involved.”
“I would like to thank Reid for his years of tireless leadership and many valued contributions to the company,” said FCA CEO Mike Manley in a statement. “We all wish him every success in his future endeavors.”
Despite the contentious past year, Bigland leaves FCA on a high note, having seen his Ram brand reach new heights in 2019. Last year saw Ram overtake the Chevrolet Silverado in U.S. full-size pickup sales, putting it in second place behind Ford. Before taking on his current roles, Bigland headed up the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands, and once served as president and CEO of the Dodge brand.
Bigland’s official statement comes across as slightly less warm.
“It has been a privilege to have been part of the FCA family and to have worked alongside our dealer business partners,” he said.
With his pending departure, Bigland’s duties will be doled out to three executives, effective immediately. Jeff Kommor will oversee U.S. sales, David Buckingham will head up FCA’s Canadian arm, and Mike Koval, current director of U.S. Ram brand product marketing, becomes interim head of that division.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
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