Marchionne Stepping Down

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has announced that he plans to step down at the end of 2018. That year will mark the completion of his $70 billion, five year strategic plan announced on May 6 to expand the combined automakers.

Marchionne said in an interview that he plans to do something else, perhaps pursuing other interests such as theoretical physics. He said "I am not going to do any more turnarounds. I'm done; let some of the young punks do it." He has suggested that the role he fills will have to be reconfigured, possibly being split among more than one executive.

While it is not an official list, there are a few names being tossed about as potential replacements for Marchionne. Some of these include Fiat's European chief Alfredo Altavilla, Jeep head Mike Manley, head of Fiat Brazil Cledorvino Belini or CNH Industrial CEO Richard Tobin. It is certain that Chairman John Elkann, a member of Fiat founding family Agnelli will not be on the list. As the company's largest shareholder, he has said that his non-executive role "has worked well" for the family.

Marchionne, 62, who despite living in Switzerland spends most of his time between Detroit and Turin, said that he is looking forward to having time for his other interests.

"You're asking me if there are other things I like to do apart from this?," said the former philosophy student. "Phenomenally, yes. I like to be able to think, and that's not always possible in this job."

Fiat's revenue and operating profit has tripled since Marchionne took charge of the nearly bankrupt automaker in June 2004. He is aiming to increase net income fivefold, to about 5 billion euros by 2018 with the company's merger with Chrysler and his 5 year plan for the company. Plans involve a 48 billion euro investment to develop more upscale vehicles, including new Alfa Romeo models, and to expand the Jeep brand outside of North America, increasing it's sales to 1.9 million vehicles.

Marchionne has also recently said that the company will look at opportunities to partner with other companies to cut development costs and potentially form a new No. 1 automaker, possibly dethroning Toyota. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is the seventh largest automaker in the world.

By Linda Aylesworth -


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