FCA Shuffling Top Execs as Marchionne’s Retirement Looms

Changes in top posts has some wondering who will take CEO's post.

by on Feb.06, 2018

Dodge passenger car boss Tim Kuniskis with the Dodge Demon during a background briefing.

With the choice of a new CEO to replace the soon-to-retire Sergio Marchionne looming ahead for the company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. made a series of executive changes aimed at filling key changes.

Tim Kuniskis was named Head of Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands globally. Kuniskis, a 26-year veteran of FCA, most recently served as head of passenger car brands in North America, which includes Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat and SRT.

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Prior to that role, he held a series of positions in U.S. sales business centers as well as in the Dodge and Fiat brands. 

At the same time, FCA said that Steve Beahm will replace Kuniskis as Head of Passenger Car Brands in North America. Most recently, Beahm served as head of Maserati North America, and before that as the leader of the Supply Chain Management group in North America. He also held a series of positions in the U.S. sales organization.

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Former Alfa U.S. boss Reid Bigland remains Head of U.S. Sales and President and CEO FCA Canada.

Reid Bigland, who was formerly Head of Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands globally, will continue serving as Head of U.S. Sales as well as President and CEO of FCA Canada.

“With the launch of the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio and the Maserati Levante complete, we must now intensify our focus on the commercial elements that will drive global growth for these brands,” said Marchionne in a statement.

“As Reid has established the commercial foundation for Alfa and Maserati, today’s announcement allows Tim to dedicate his efforts solely on the next chapter of these storied brands. In North America, with the execution of our industrial plan now well underway, shifting from cars to SUV’s and trucks, Reid’s complete attention will be placed on accelerating sales growth in the U.S. and Canada.

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“This is an important year for FCA as we work to achieve the commitments made in our five-year business plan, and equally important, to establish the momentum for continued growth going forward,” added Marchionne.

Bigland and Kuniskis continue to serve on the Group Executive Council, which is the highest management body in FCA and is chaired by the CEO.

Marchionne, who has been known to change his mind, has said publicly that he expects to name his successor on June 1, when FCA presents its next four-year plan. He has also emphasized that his successor will come from within the ranks of the company’s top executives. Bigland, who has been with Marchionne since he took over running the Fiat-Chrysler enterprise since 2009, is thought to be one of the handful of top executives in a strong position.

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While Marchionne has never indicated any favorites publicly, the short list of potential candidates is thought to also include CFO Richard Palmer, Michael Manley, head of the Ram and Jeep Brands, Pietro Gorlier, the head of parts and services and a Fiat veteran who has been close to Marchionne since the Chrysler take over as well Alfredo Altavilla, chief operating officer for FCA in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Altavilla has run the Fiat business in Europe since 2012.

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