Who Will Replace Sergio Marchionne as CEO of FCA?
Evidence points to one of four FCA executive council members becoming Marchionne's successor later this year
Sergio Marchionne, one of the automotive market’s most influential individuals, is set to retire from his role as Fiat Chrysler CEO later this year. His successor will be named following a presentation of FCA’s 2018-2022 business plan on June 1.
With that deadline fast approaching, speculation surrounding who that new CEO might be has been spreading like wildfire. We do know that successor will be a member of FCA’s Group Executive Council.
Marchionne has also gone on to say that neither of the two women on the council will be up for consideration, which he considers to be an “inherited” failure on the part of FCA’s human resources. That leaves the 17 male members of FCA’s council.
However, not all of these men are likely candidates for the role. Indeed, the common consensus throughout the industry is that the future FCA CEO will be one of the following four men: Michael Manley, Alfredo Altavilla, Pietro Gorlier, and Richard Palmer.
Current Roles: Head of Jeep Brand/Head of Ram Brand
Michael Manley is easily one of the most recognizable members of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The fact that Manley is in charge of FCA’s most lucrative brand likely helps increase that recognition.
Manley entered the Chrysler company back in 2000, right around when it was still Daimler Chrysler. When Fiat took hold of Chrysler in 2009, he was placed in charge of Jeep. Since then, Manley has been working to spread Jeep’s global influence, cooperating with partners like Guangzhou Automobile Group and expanding the Jeep brand into markets like India. His success running Jeep and, more recently, Ram makes him a likely candidate for the role of FCA CEO.
Current Roles: Chief Operating Officer for FCA Europe, Africa, and Middle East/Head of Business Development
Alfredo Altavilla has been with Fiat for more than 28 years, joining the company back in 1990. Since his first days at Fiat, he has climbed up the ranks to prestigious positions of power. Altavilla currently wears a lot of hats around FCA. He oversees the automaker’s operations in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. At the same time, he is also in charge of business development.
Altavilla helped navigate Fiat through years of financial turmoil in Europe. That achievement, paired with his loyalty to the brand, makes Altavilla a safe choice for Marchionne’s successor.
Current Roles: Chief Operating Officer Components/Heat of Parts and Service (Mopar)
Like Altavilla, Gorlier is another individual that has been with Fiat for quite some time. He started his career back in 1989 as a market analyst for the commercial vehicle brand Iveco. Unlike Altavilla and Manley, however, Gorlier is more of a behind-the-scenes guy.
Gorlier is the automaker’s foremost expert on distribution networks and dealerships.He also oversees both Mopar and FCA’s components division as a whole, one of the automaker’s most profitable sectors. His reputation within the company might be enough to make up for his lack of presence in the public eye.
Current Roles: Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer Systems and Castings
Product development and parts distribution are important areas of FCA’s operations. However, finances are sometimes the most vital aspect for automakers. That’s where Richard Palmer enters the picture, having served as Fiat’s Chief Financial Officer for the past 11 years.
Recently, Palmer has overseen the reduction of FCA’s net debt, which is expected to transform into a net cash position later this year. Still, FCA will want to continue monitoring its finances for the near future. Known for being cautious and intelligent, Palmer might be just the individual to oversee FCA’s operations as a whole moving forward.
Ultimately, the choice of FCA’s next CEO will likely be determined by John Elkann, the current chairman of Exor, a holding company that owns a controlling stake in FCA. Given the qualifications each of these four men possess, Elkann and Marchionne certainly have a good pool of candidates to choose from for the next head of FCA.
News Source: Autoweek