You'd be smiling, too...

According to emerging reports, Luca De Meo is being appointed as the new chief executive of Alfa Romeo, succeeding Antonio Baravalle who recently announced his departure.

De Meo is credited with the recent rejuvenation of the Fiat brand, overseeing the introduction of the enormously successful Grande Punto, followed by the new Bravo and most recently the hot new 500 retro-hatch. The industry was shocked when De Meo stepped down as Fiat brand CEO just a few months ago to assume a new position in the parent company as Chief Marketing Officer for the entire Fiat Group. De Meo will be retaining the marketing position in addition to his new responsibilities as head of Alfa Romeo, while keeping his third post as head of the Abarth division, which he launched during his tenure as Fiat brand CEO.

With the new appointment, it becomes all the more clear that Luca De Meo is being groomed to take over from Fiat Group chief Sergio Marchionne, whom he succeeded as Fiat brand CEO and remains the only one with more responsibilities in the Fiat empire than De Meo (with the possible exception of his namesake Luca di Montezemolo, president of Ferrari, chairman of the Fiat Group and head of industrial alliance Confindustria).

As Marchionne pointed out, the duality of De Meo's positions put him "in the ideal position" to spearhead Alfa Romeo's imminent return to the North American market.

[Source: Italiaspeed]