Wow, we're still reeling a bit from this morning's news that Chrysler hired off Toyota North America's top executive, Jim Press. He now shares the title of Vice Chairman and President with Tom LaSorda, and the two will report directly to Chrysler's new CEO, Bob Nardelli. While LaSorda will handle the "Supply" side of things (Manufacturing, Procurement and Supply, Employee Relations and Global Business Development and Alliances), Press will handle "Demand" (North American Sales, International Sales, Global Marketing, Product Strategy, and Service).

Press spent the last 37 years of his professional career at Toyota. What makes a man leave a company with that type of history? What makes a man leave a company like Toyota at the height of its success, and join an automaker that's about to begin yet another turnaround? We don't know, but we bet it's more than just the allure of a good challenge.

The real question is how the addition of Jim Press will affect Chrysler. Will his hire be an instant positive for the company, or will his presence be a distraction for the management team. Then there's the conspiracist theory angle. Perhaps Toyota CEO Katsuaki Watanabe sent Press to Chrysler as a mole to learn why the Jeep Wrangler is so popular.

How will Jim Press affect Chrysler's fortunes?
Chrysler will suddenly have the industry's best reputation for quality 1 (33.3%)
Battle over corner office will reduce productivity 1 (33.3%)
Uh-oh. Toyota just planted a mole at Chrysler 1 (33.3%)


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