FIAT Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA) new CEO Mike Manley has announced sweeping changes across the conglomerate’s global leadership organisation to enact its latest five-year plan and achieve his objective of becoming “one of the world’s most profitable auto-makers”.
His first major decision since taking the reins from Sergio Marchionne, who fell gravely ill in July, Mr Manley announced the management shake-up in an email to employees last week.
“One key element in the plan is to ensure that our leadership team is best aligned to our objectives going forward,” Mr Manley said.
“We have an outstanding team here at FCA with extensive experience and an exceptional record of success and I’m pleased today to announce the following evolution in our leadership roles as we begin to implement our new plan.
“These appointments ensure that we will maintain our focus on the highest degree of execution and excellence in each of our regions and across our functional groups.”
Pietro Gorlier takes over the role of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) chief operating officer, succeeding Alfredo Altavilla who resigned from the position after being passed over for the top job at FCA in favour of Mr Manley.
Adding to his current role as global head of parts and service (Mopar), Mr Gorlier first joined the company in 1989 as a market analyst and has worked across various roles such as COO of components, and president and CEO of Mopar brand service, parts and customer care.
Tim Kuniskis will play a crucial role in FCA’s five-year plan to grow the volume of both Jeep and Alfa Romeo, retaining his role as global head of the Italian brand but taking on additional responsibility as the new North America chief of the iconic off-road brand.
Mr Kuniskis will oversee the launch of hybrid Jeep models and new Alfa Romeo sportscars as outlined by FCA’s five-year plan.
A member of FCA’s Group Executive Council (GEC), Mr Kuniskis was formerly head of Maserati, North America passenger car brands and Fiat in North America.
Meanwhile, FCA chief technical officer Harald Wester will add the position of Maserati COO to his responsibilities.
Having previously served as Maserati CEO from August 2008 to May 2016, Mr Wester will now play a key role in the Italian sports-luxury brand’s expansion, which includes an all-new forthcoming mid-size SUV and electrified powertrains.
Mr Wester also oversaw Abarth (from January 2009 until 2013) and Alfa Romeo (from January 2010 until May 2016) and is a member of the GEC.
Reid Bigland returns to the role of Ram brand head after holding the position from 2013 to 2014, while also retaining his role as head of US sales and FCA Canada chairman, president and CEO.
Under Mr Bigland’s leadership, Ram will launch a one-tonne ute to rival the likes of the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux, while a new full-size pick-up is also planned for a mid-2019 launch.
Mr Bigland has been a member of the GEC since September 2011, and has previously served as head of Alfa Romeo and Maserati and Dodge brand president and CEO.
As the new global chief manufacturing officer, Scott Garberding will also oversee Comau and Teksid – two FCA-owned companies specialising in vehicle automation and component manufacturing respectively.
Mr Garberding succeeds Stefan Ketter, who stepped down as global chief manufacturing officer earlier this year, while Mr Garberding’s former role as global head of quality now goes to Richard Schwarzwald.
In the email, Mr Manley singled out Mr Schwarzwald’s efforts as Latin America head of quality, commending him for “making significant quality improvements” to production facilities that assemble vehicles including the Jeep Renegade, Compass and Grand Cherokee.
In turn, Geraldo Barra steps up as the new Latin America head of quality while Mark Champine is named North America head of quality.
Ermanno Ferrari was also named CEO of Magneti Marelli, an Italian-based FCA subsidiary that develops and manufactures automotive componentry, which also gives him a seat at the GEC.
Mr Ferrari most recently served as Magneti Marelli head of automotive lighting, while prior roles at the company included senior positions in the suspension and shock absorber divisions.
Finally, North America head of passenger car brands Steve Beahm adds the newly created role of North America head of parts and service (Mopar) to his responsibilities.
Mr Beahm was formerly head of Maserati North America Maserati, while his previous roles included FCA North American head of supply chain management and FCA US vice-president of sales operations.
“With a laser focus on execution and a continued flexibility that allows us to adjust as circumstances change – something that has become one of our most unique characteristics and strengths – we have a clear line of sight to achieving our five-year ambitions,” Mr Manley said.
By Tung Nguyen