by Patrick Rall
This week, Chrysler and Fiat Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne was speaking at the 2011 CAR Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan, some questions about the future of the Chrysler Group came up. Many would expect some inane response about how they “don’t comment on future products”, but instead, Mr. Marchionne stated that it would be “up to the guy after me” – going on to say that his replacement could come about by 2015 or “maybe a year later”.
Marchionne went on to explain that he could still serve as the Chrysler Group CEO after that but his comments made it obvious that there is a replacement in the cards and that we can expect that person to come from
within the current Fiat/Chrysler management group.
“I technically can go beyond 2015,” Marchionne said. “I wouldn’t focus
on the date. I would focus on the process. The process has been designed
and I have always believed that my successor needs to come from the
inside, and this enlarged management team where we have 22 people of
nine nationalities is designed to be a proving ground for people to sit
This comes after Fiat rolled out their new Group Executive Council – a
collection of 22 experienced managers within the Fiat and Chrysler Group
who will work together to make the major decisions pertaining to the
company’s activities around the globe. This group, headed by Sergio
Marchionne, reports to the Fiat S.p.A. Board of Directors. Among the
ranks are a handful of executives who currently serve as Chief Executive
Officer of the various Chrysler and Fiat brands, including Pietro
Gorlier (CEO and President of the Mopar brand), Olivier Francois (CEO
and President of the Chrysler brand), Mike Manley (CEO and President of
the Jeep brand) and Reid Bigland who serves as both the CEO and
President of the Dodge brand as well as sitting as the head of
Chrysler’s Canadian operations. Considering the success of the various
brands under their leadership in multiple world markets, perhaps we
could see one of these guys taking the reins of the Chrysler Group from
Sergio, should he decide to step away in 2015 or 2016.
The moves made by Sergio Marchionne and the management staff that he has
put in place have helped the Chrysler Group climb out of bankruptcy –
recently showing regular month over month and year over year growth
across their entire company portfolio. During Marchionne’s time at the
top, not only has he put people in power over the Chrysler, Jeep and
Dodge brands, but he has made moves to create the new Ram Truck brand
and the new SRT cross-brand group along with reintroducing Fiat to the
American market. It can be said that Mr. Marchionne and those assisting
him haven’t made many bad decisions since becoming involved with the
Chrysler Group, so as the company moves into the future, we can expect
the big management decisions to be made carefully – helping to further
the Chrysler Group in the American and world markets.
Is Mr. Marchionne going to be sorely missed? Voice your opinion here!