With the unification of Fiat and Chrysler, we're been expecting major changes in the corporate structure of the two automakers and their various brands. Most recently, Lancia chief executive Olivier Francois was named head of the Chrysler division, leading to reports that the two brands – similarly positioned in the sub-luxury premium segment – will be integrated into one unit. Now similar reports place the Abarth, Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands under common leadership.

Let's get ready to play musical chairs for a moment... This news comes with the appointment of Harald Wester as CEO of Alfa Romeo. In his new role, Wester replaces Sergio Cravero, who himself was recently promoted from the brand's communications directorate to serve as a replacement for the departing Luca de Meo who will change to a new role as head of product planning for the entire Fiat Group.

Wester, meanwhile, retains not only his roles as group chief technical officer, but also as CEO of both the Abarth and Maserati brands. As a result, we can expect to see a deeper level of collaboration between these performance-oriented brands within the expanding Fiat empire. Details in the press release after the jump.

[Source: Fiat]
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PRESS RELEASE

HARALD WESTER NEW CEO OF ALFA ROMEO AUTOMOBILES

Harald J. Wester has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Alfa Romeo Automobiles, replacing Sergio Cravero, who will assume responsibility for Product Portfolio Planning & Product Concept of Fiat Group Automobiles.

Mr. Wester will maintain his current positions as Chief Technical Officer for Fiat Group and Fiat Group Automobiles and Chief Executive Officer of Maserati and Abarth.

The Fiat Group Chief Executive, Sergio Marchionne, stated: "The purpose of bringing the Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Abarth brands under the same leadership is to emphasize and leverage the value of the shared qualities of the three brands in terms of their sporting characteristics and performance. Harald Wester, who has demonstrated his enormous commitment on several fronts and achieved optimum results, will bring strong leadership capabilities and solid technical experience and know-how to this project. In his new role, Sergio Cravero will be well positioned to fully leverage his technical and commercial abilities."

Turin, 22 January 2010

Harald J. Wester

Harald J. Wester, born in Linz am Rhein (Germany) on 26 February 1958, received his Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Braunschweig University in 1986. He began his professional career at Volkswagen AG in Wolfsburg where he served as General Manager of the Vehicle Research and New Concepts department from 1991 to 1995. Later that year, he joined Audi AG in Inglostadt where he became Program Manager for A2 models and Special Vehicles, a position that he held until January 1999. Subsequently, he joined Ferrari S.p.A. as Director of Product Development until his appointment in 2002 as Group President Engineering and Chief Technical Officer (Research, Development and Technologies) of Magna Steyr AG. In 2004, he joined the Fiat Group where he took on the role of Chief Technical Officer for Fiat Group Automobiles and, subsequently, CTO for the Fiat Group. In addition to these roles, in August 2008 he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Maserati S.p.A. and, in January 2009, Chief Executive Officer of Abarth & C. S.p.A.