Fiat appoints turnaround expert as new chief exec

  • Business
  • Thursday, 03 Jun 2004

ROME: Fiat on Tuesday chose turnaround expert Sergio Marchionne to be its new chief executive, the latest move in a shake-up of the struggling vehicle maker's top management after the death of chairman Umberto Agnelli and the resignation of the previous CEO last week. 

Seeking to reassure investors, Fiat's new management pledged commitment to a restructuring plan that has been helping to pull the company out of its worst financial crisis ever. News of Marchionne's appointment, ending two days of uncertainty at Italy's largest private employer, sent Fiat shares up more than 4% on the Italian stock market. 

“Fiat has had problems and it still does,'' Marchionne said after his appointment as Fiat's fifth CEO in two years at a board meeting in Turin. But he added: “I am absolutely convinced that Fiat will make it and will be again what it always has been.'' 

“It's a plan we intend to complete,'' he said of the company's restructuring efforts. 

Fifty-one, and with dual Italian and Canadian citizenship, Marchionne is know as an aggressive executive and turnaround expert. He has been an independent member of Fiat's board of directors since 2003. 

He is “an international manager with a clear strategic vision and a strong ability for organisation,'' said Gabriele Galateri, the head of Italian merchant bank Mediobanca and a former Fiat executive. 

Marchionne started his career in Canada and later went to Switzerland, where he headed the Lonza chemicals group and then became chief executive of goods inspection and testing company SGS in 2002. – AP  

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