Report: Fiat Chrysler CEO Marchionne ‘done’ in 2018 – Detroit Free Press

Posted: Thursday, October 09, 2014

Sergio Marchionne is planning to retire as CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles at the end of 2018 after completing a five-year plan unveiled earlier this year.

“I’ll undoubtedly do something else” after the end of 2018,” Marchionne told Bloomberg Businessweek. “I am not going to do any more turnarounds. I’m done; let some of the young punks do it.”

While Marchionne has said before that he plans to step down eventually his comments elevate the need for Fiat Chrysler to groom his successor. The automaker has not designated any clear finalists for the job.

John Elkann, chairman of Fiat, will continue to play an influential role. Elkann, 38, is the great-great-grandson of Fiat founder Giovanni Agnelli. He also is chairman of Exor, Fiat’s largest shareholder.

Marchionne, 62, resurrected Fiat about 10 years ago, then stepped forward to take control of Chrysler in the wake of its 2009 bankruptcy.

At the time, most automotive analysts thought it would be nearly impossible to turn Chrysler around. But Marchionne has reinvigorated the company with an management team that consists of both Fiat and Chrysler executives. Today, Chrysler is profitable and is gaining market share in the U.S.

The merger of the two companies is complete and shares will begin trading Monday the New York Stock Exchange.

Marchionne’s said in May that a $70 billion, five-year plan for Fiat Chrysler would be his last turnaround.

“I am going to stay on through the plan. I want to make sure the plan gets delivered,” Marchionne said. “It’s not my first turnaround. It will be my last.”

“There are a number of things that the next CEO will do which are totally different from what I do,” Marchionne told Bloomberg. “The role as presently configured will have to be reconfigured.”

In 2010, Marchionne formed a 21-member Group Executive Council, including heads of the operating sectors and certain central functions. While any of those executives could emerge as CEO candidates, several are viewed viewed as strong candidates.

They include:

Alfredo Altavilla, COO for Europe, Africa and Middle East.

Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales, CEO of Chrysler Canada and head of Alfa Romeo in North America.

Mike Manley, president and CEO of Jeep, COO of Asia Pacific region, lead executive for international operations.

Richard Palmer, chief financial officer.

Elkann’s influencecould grow. He joined Fiat’s board in 1997, when he was 21 and became vice chairman in 2003 after the heir apparent, Giovanni Alberto Agnelli, died. Exor, the family’s investment company, is expected to be the largest shareholder of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Contact Brent Snavely: 313-222-6512 or bsnavely@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @BrentSnavely.

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