There are some companies that could change leadership overnight and still remain more or less the operations that they are. But some have built themselves up around one central figure. Just ask Carlos Tavares, who found he couldn't escape the long shadow of Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. Tavares recently left to find his own limelight. But Ghosn isn't the only executive who presides over two disparate automakers on opposite ends of the globe.

Having built up Fiat and Chrysler around himself, we can hardly imagine either automaker getting along without Sergio Marchionne. But the day will come when the famously sweater-clad bigwig will step down. The pressing questions remain when when that day will come, and who will take his place. The only solid clues we have are in the statements made mostly by Marchionne himself, but those statements have been all over the place. When speaking to Automotive News in 2012, he said he would step down "no earlier than 2013, no later than 2015." But a year later, he had already seemingly changed his tune, indicating he could still be at the helm in 2016. Fiat chairman John Elkann seems to think Marchionne, 61, could and should stay on longer.

Whenever he does retire, though, there are several candidates who could fill his shoes. Marchionne has indicated that his eventual successor currently sits on the Chrysler-Fiat Group Executive Council, composed of 20 execs each responsible for one or more areas of operations within the burgeoning transatlantic empire. According to Automotive News, Jeep chief Mike Manley, current Europe/Middle East/Africa sales chief Alfedo Altavilla, Ram boss Reid Bigland and CFO Richard Palmer are considered to be the frontrunners. But then given the different hats that Marchionne wears - including chief executive of both the Fiat and Chrysler groups and head of North American operations – the job could be split up in the future, leaving not one successor to Sergio's legacy but a handful.

Who do you think should take up the reins after Marchionne steps down? Have your say in Comments.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      Alex Ellsworth
      • 1 Year Ago
      Successor - I don't know, but I do think Marchionne needs to stick around longer to consolidate and solidify the major strides made under his leadership. There is still a long way to go, but the direction seems positive. Particularly so with regard to Chrysler - quality has improved so much more under Fiat ownership than it did under Mercedes(Daimler)-Benz, which just boggles my mind considering the respective reputations of those two automakers. The new 200 also looks like it could be a real step forward for Chrysler, right into full class-competitiveness. Meanwhile, over on the European side, I'm cheered to see bold moves like ditching Lancia and increasing Fiat's global stature. I feel like more needs to be done with regard to the product lineup - delineating platform sharing and establishing brand identity (some of the rebadge jobs seem hasty, like 80's GM), and the much-postponed US relaunch of Alfa Romeo will need top-notch product and expert leadership. So I think Marchionne needs to stick around until he sees all the bold changes he initiated through to fruition. I haven't always understood his vision, but the results have been pretty good so far. And it's common sense that the guy with the vision should be the one in charge of realizing it - otherwise there's a good chance it'll end up a muddled mess, like kids playing a game of "telephone."
      rtkewley
      • 1 Year Ago
      The one common thread among all the so-called "great leaders" - the Iacoccas, the Piechs, etc. - is that their bloated egos will not allow them to entertain the thought that they can and eventually will be replaced. As a result, they refuse to groom successors or put together a plan for their departure and its' aftermath. When they die/are forced out, chaos results as corporate resources are spent in political battles as various pretenders scramble for the throne. I would bet serious money that will happen (again) at Chrysler/Fiat.
      Bud
      • 1 Year Ago
      It appears that there many ill-informed views on here. Everyone who knows Chrysler realizes that when a certain person walks into a room at Chrysler/Fiat, he is the smartest by far in there. His name is Scott Garberding. Ralph Gilles is not CEO material and the car guy is questionable. Anyone, just because they LIKE cars does not make him a car guy. Inspiration, risk taking, going against the flow because on ones convictions, and long term vision is what is required. RG is an affable stylist with a certain amount of Charisma. If anyone knows anything about Chrysler would know that there is one guy that when he walks into the room he is the smartest one in there. Scott Garberding, is unassuming, studious, extremely knowledgeable, and very effective in the numerous positions he has held within the company at VP levels. He is not all over the media, at press launches, etc, and he would have not allowed the dreadful launch over a reworked Viper that so, so, so underwhelmed everyone to go into production just for the sake of it, without anything new and exciting to stir the public....Chrysler/Fiat needs an Alan Mulally, ....and Scott Garberding is another Alan Mulally.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bud
        [blocked]
          Bud
          • 1 Year Ago
          Owning and working on a Viper does not make you a car guy ? I don't hate anyone, but there are much better choices WHO are car guys (not sure of your definition - I own and work on my own a house, does that make me a House guy ? or a House Builder?). The biggest thing is "Vision" to see what is coming along in 10 -20 -30 years time and that is not RG; especially as all Chrysler styling is either retro throw backs or copying vehicle themes already out there (Chrysler 200 = Tesla). Also there is a lot of dead wood still at Chrysler, in their thinking and the way they do business, which all seems to have washed up at RG door as flotsam at SRT.
      Gearhead
      • 1 Year Ago
      Based on my horrible experience with my new Jeep GC whoever it is has a lot of work to do on quality. A real Detroit circa 1970's nightmare.
        Street King
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Gearhead
        Mine has been flawless
        Shiftright
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Gearhead
        Yours is certainly an anomaly as I know a few who have nothing but great things to say about theirs
        Tom
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Gearhead
        You either don't own a new GC or you are one hell of a needle in a haystack. My 2014 GC Limited has been a total dream ride.
      charles
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think he should stay until he dies,if he goes before Chrysler/Fiat is one company it will be tough for his successor.No just kidding,but he needs to stay as long a possible or until the two companies are ONE.He is an awesome man,and deserves a good rest,he must also stop smoking,but may be the smoking keeps him going.I think he should take a sabbatical and work as a consultant to the company,then come back out to work every few months.I do not think anyone can really replace him.I will surely miss him,but I Know he will be around for a few more years.Good luck Sergio.
      Simul Taneous
      • 1 Year Ago
      Marco Mattiacci
      jfa1177
      • 1 Year Ago
      If the great Sergio keeps up at the pace he's going there will be no FIAT group to hand over because it will be bankrupt. This guy is flailing about throwing sh*t at the wall to see what sticks. There is no management style here. Seems AB is still ******* on his teet as well.
      E85 450HP Forester
      • 1 Year Ago
      Pisses me off, you have the money to fix your teeth the proper way, I wish I was in your shoes.
        Aurio Salimonne
        • 1 Year Ago
        @E85 450HP Forester
        So sad your name implied a Subaru,hope you find the dude that you like on another site and don't harm more the Subaru name,keep you rainbow sticker for yourself and god bless you.This guy is a genius and doesn't matter how he look,bet he have more money than you do and is not as arrogant !
      Giorgio Taroni
      • 1 Year Ago
      lapo Elkann, I trust him much, many concrete ideas (the 500s 1st), and much more focused going 40, he knows US better than any European. PS: As car designer A.Grippaldi the most valid firm, running Broox company and towin' US snowboarders with his board bungees patent (www.gravitis.net)
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Maybe they should hire Bill Burke.
      charles
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have never heard of any one having trouble with the Jeep Grand Cherokee,but I have heard of some VW/Audi nightmares.
      d66coronet
      • 1 Year Ago
      Whom ever takes over, I hope 1) They care about the workers 2) They embrace fuel efficiency along with muscle cars & NASCAR & SCCA & DRAG racing & 24hr racing. 3) They have a little vintage and modern. It would be cool if they brought back the Fiat spider & produce a Dodge version (Razor / copperhead) I (and many others) still love fat fender even though most people think the PT cruiser, HHR was a mistake. I wish Ram / Dodge would fat fender the Fiat Doblo {small pickup, delivery van, taxi van, mini motor home, etc...) and make it North america (Canada USA Mexico) with multi different drive trains from 2.0L 9sp auto, 1.4L manual 5sp, Diesel/CNG 1.3L, 1.6L, 2.0L . {Diesel on highway, CNG city) (Maybe offer the 1.4L or 1.3L diesel FWD with electric hybrid RWD for city use).
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