Laura Soave, Fiat bossBloomberg is reporting that Laura Soave, the head of the Fiat brand in North America, is leaving the company. The executive helped usher Fiat back into the U.S. market with the 500, but flagging sales, slow dealer network expansion and marketing disasters have fallen on Soave's shoulders, as have rumors of improper professional relationships. Rumors of her ousting/departure have been swirling for some time, making the announcement of little surprise.

Fiat has managed to move less than half of the 50,000 units per year that the company had projected for the 500 in 2011.

Soave will be replaced by Tim Kuniskis, a marketing executive within Fiat, according to the report.

UPDATE: It's official. Chrysler has released a statement confirming Soave's exit and Kuniskis' ascendance. Check out the release after the jump.


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Chrysler Group Appoints Timothy Kuniskis Head of Fiat Brand for North America

November 21, 2011 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Chrysler Group LLC today named Timothy Kuniskis Head of the Fiat Brand for North America. Kuniskis most recently served as Director for both the Chrysler Brand and Fiat Brand Product Marketing. The move is effective immediately.

In his new role, Kuniskis is responsible for the Fiat Brand in North America which includes leadership for Fiat Brand sales, marketing, dealer network and service. He will continue the reintroduction of the iconic brand including its newest vehicle the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth.

"Tim brings broad expertise and leadership in dealer operations and marketing where he has been already working with the team to shape the direction of the Fiat Brand," said Sergio Marchionne, Chairman and CEO, Chrysler Group LLC. "As North American Head of Fiat, much of his immediate focus will be working with the dealer body where his fresh perspective from the operational side, as well as that on the commercial side, will begin the Fiat Brand's next chapter."

Kuniskis joined Chrysler in 1992 and since then has held a series of increasingly responsible positions in the Company's business center operations and marketing organization.

Laura Soave has left the Company and will pursue other interests