Photo: Chrysler Group via flickr
Ever since 2009, Fiat’s S.p.A.’s CEO has taken to regularly criss-crossing the Atlantic in his private jet.He’ll be doing more of the same for years to come.
Now that Fiat has a 53.5% stake in Chrysler, the Italian automaker has the power to do whatever it wants. But yesterday, Sergio Marchionne announced that he will a) remain CEO of Chrysler in North America, and b) make Detroit a central part of its operations.
This restructuring is unlike other mergers, reports the Times and Detroit News. Rather than replace all the Chrysler execs, Marchionne is keeping them on board. For example, Chrysler’s Richard Palmer is going to be CFO of both companies, and Oliver Francois, who’s been in charge of Chrysler’s brand, will become chief creative officer for both the U.S. and Italian companies. Of the 22-person executive council, 9 members are from Chrysler (others are from around the world).
According to the Detroit News, this “global management structure, unveiled Thursday, affirms Chrysler’s longsuffering employees and a Detroit auto industry struggling to regain credibility with customers, investors and competitors.”
The paper says this merger won’t unfold like Daimler-Benz AG, which though at first was a “merger of equals,” ultimately moved everything to Germany.
To be sure, the Fiat headquarters will stay in Turin. But this move will give Fiat an edge in the U.S. again, ever since it abandoned the market in 1984.
This is all unfolding as Chrysler has now paid most of its bailout funds and has become profitable.
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