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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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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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      It makes sense.
      I always said that Alfas should look like Maseratis, so I hope this work out well for Alfa Romeo.

      Alfas should drop the ultra aggressive looks and go for a the classy upmarket looks of the Maserati, I believe that is the secret which will allow Alfas to finally compete with BMW and Mercedes
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm surprised that Lancia isn't included with the others.
      • 5 Years Ago
      good idea
      • 5 Years Ago
      D'OH! It's since 80s that this idea runs in the FIAT's passages and in FIAT's grand statements... As FIAT speaks and never does, I do not believe until I see it working.

      If this is first step to Alfa's RWD return, this is good
      • 5 Years Ago
      The potential good news would be this opens up the possibility for Alfa and maybe Abarth to return to the States, since Maserati already has a small network of shops. As a recovering Alfa addict (Anyone have a '76 Sport Saloon for sale?), I hope this plays out.

      The potential bad news would be that Wester will position the brands as entry level, mid-tier, and top tier brands and then look to do away with vehicles that serve the same market. That wouldn't play out well for Alfa, as the mid-tier. The 8c would be playing in Maserati space and the MiTo would be playing in Abarth space. Although I've liked the 14x series of cars, the 8c and MiTo are arguably the more compelling vehicles in the Alfa lineup.
        • 5 Years Ago

        May I recommend you start your search here.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Only good things can come from this.