Jeep Takes Over Fiat Chryler

As it became clear that the great but ailing CEO Sergio Marchionne would not return to the Italy based company he saved and built–Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (NYSE: FCAU)–the board named the head of its iconic American Jeep brand as the new CEO of the sprawling manufacturer. Fiat had made its multi-decade mark mostly with small cars it sold in Europe. Jeep, om the other hand, was the sturdy military four-wheel drive vehicle which was a critical mode of transportation for the U.S. Army in WWI–an army that, among other things, drove the Italians to surrender.

Mike Manley has run Jeep during the rise of the SUV and made it one of the most widely sold brands in its category. Manley is British, another sign of the multinational flavor of the parent company. The awkwardly worded announcement

The Board of Directors of FCA, meeting today, firstly expressed its closeness to Sergio Marchionne and his family and underlined the extraordinary contribution, both human and professional, that he has made to the Company in these years. The Board resolved to accelerate the CEO transition process that has been proceeding over the past months and named Mike Manley as CEO. The Board will therefore propose to the next Shareholder Meeting, to be called in the coming days, that he be elected to the Board and serve as an executive director of the Company.

In the meantime, in order to provide for his full authority and operational continuity for the company, the Board has with immediate effect granted Mr. Manley all the powers of CEO. He will also assume responsibility for the NAFTA region. Mr. Manley and his management team will proceed with the implementation of the 2018 – 2022 Business Plan as presented on 1 June this year, a plan that will further assure FCA’s strong and independent future

By Douglas A. McIntyre

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