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Viva Italia! the Italian is coming . . .

Posted: April 14th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Auto News | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Viva Italia! the Italian is coming . . .

As Italian carmaker Fiat and US giant Chrysler race toward a union, one option under discussion is that Sergio Marchionne, currently Fiat’s overlord, could become chief executive of Chrysler. According to a report in trade publication Automotive News, Chrysler and Fiat are also discussing a new management and board for the U.S. automaker under the proposed alliance. Last month, the U.S. government threatened to suspend federal aid for Chrysler unless it secures a deal with the Italian carmaker by the end of April.

What kind of impact would Marchionne have on Chrysler? A huge one, according to Massimo Vecchio, an analyst with Mediobanca.
“His experience in turning companies around is quite clear, but it’s not clear if he will be able to do the same with Chrysler as he did with Fiat” Vecchio said. “He’s got a lot of American in his management style. The only thing that matters to him is results. If you don’t deliver, you are out. He’s quite ruthless.”

Marchionne has been Fiat’s chief executive since June 1, 2004, and took over the leadership of the company when it was near bankruptcy. During the Easter break, Marchionne traveled to the U.S. to push hard for the deal. Last January, both car makers said they were entering a partnership in which Fiat would take 35.0% of Chrysler in return for sharing its technology and product platforms with the firm, but it would not put any cash into the deal. Chrysler is expected to tap into Fiat’s product line of smaller cars.

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