BREAKING: Former Home Depot chief Bob Nardelli to be Chrysler's new Chairman and CEO

That Wolfgang rumor? It appears that we can file it under "not accurate." The new chief executive of Chrysler LLC will not be the former wunderkind. Instead, former Home Depot CEO Robert Nardelli will assume the top spot in Auburn Hills, according to reports in both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Chosen by Cerberus because of his turnaround expertise, Nardelli will reportedly receive a performance-based compensation package, i.e. if the company doesn't show improvement, he won't be paid.
Mr. Nardelli left Home Depot in January after developing a strained relationship with shareholders over his compensation package and the company's stock price. However you look at it, the appointment comes as a surprise. The New York Times reports that current Chrysler chief Tom LaSorda will assume the role of vice-chairman and president. The Wall Street Journal is also reporting that current Chrysler COO, Eric Ridenour, will likely depart the company.

No official word from Chrysler yet, but we assume that's coming soon.

UPDATE: Chrysler's official announcement is now pasted after the jump.

[Sources: New York Times, Wall Street Journal via Jalopnik]

Chrysler Announces Leadership Changes

Bob Nardelli Appointed as Chairman and CEO; Tom LaSorda to Continue with Chrysler as Vice Chairman and President

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Aug. 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Chrysler LLC today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Bob Nardelli as Chairman and CEO of Chrysler LLC. The Board also announced that Tom LaSorda has been appointed Vice Chairman and President of Chrysler LLC, reporting to Nardelli.

"We are excited to welcome Bob to the Chrysler family," said LaSorda. "Bob has a proven track record of success and an unwavering focus on performance, and brings deep operational experience and a broad industry background to Chrysler. His background in operations will provide valuable knowledge as we continue Chrysler's turnaround."

"I am very excited to be part of a team focused on re-establishing Chrysler as a standalone industry leader, with a renewed focus on meeting the needs of customers," said Nardelli. "Chrysler has many deeply talented and dedicated people, and I am confident that together we can continue the momentum of Chrysler's recovery and return this great American icon to a path for global growth and competitiveness."

In addition, Eric Ridenour, Chief Operating Officer, has elected to leave the new company to pursue other opportunities. The COO position will not be filled going forward. "Eric gave this company 23 years of great service and leadership," said LaSorda. "We wish him well in his new pursuits."

Concurrent with the close of the Chrysler transaction on August 3, 2007, the new Board of Directors of Chrysler LLC was formed. It consists of 11 members, including Nardelli, LaSorda, representatives of Cerberus and Daimler, and independent directors.

Cerberus and Chrysler would like to thank Wolfgang Bernhard for his contributions leading to the closing of this transaction. Both Cerberus and Chrysler had looked forward to his continuing contributions as Non-Executive Chairman of Chrysler, however due to personal and family reasons he was not able to accept that role.

Cerberus has also asked, and Tom LaSorda has agreed, to serve as the Vice Chairman of Cerberus Operating and Advisory Company LLC (COAC), Cerberus' proprietary operations advisory affiliate. In that role, Mr. LaSorda will assist in the continuing development of COAC, which works closely with the portfolio companies in which the funds and accounts managed by Cerberus are invested.

Prior to joining Chrysler, Nardelli served as Chairman, President and CEO of The Home Depot beginning in 2000. During his tenure at The Home Depot he doubled sales as well as the number of store operations; moved globally into Mexico and China; and delivered more than 20 percent earnings-per-share growth for four consecutive years while growing dividends from 16 cents to 90 cents per share. Nardelli also has extensive senior operations experience in manufacturing and transportation systems.

Nardelli received his bachelor's degree in business from Western Illinois University and earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Louisville.

Nardelli, an Atlanta resident, chairs the Atlanta Board of Visitors of the Savannah College of Art and Design and has also served on President Bush's Council on Service and Civic Participation. He has also chaired the advisory board for the nonprofit group Hands on Network and strongly supported KaBoom!, a national nonprofit organization building community playgrounds. Nardelli has received numerous awards for his strong support of military veterans, and received the Distinguished Pennsylvanian Award from Gannon University (1995) and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Business and Technology at Western Illinois University (1997 and 1999). He is an alumni fellow and 2001 Alumnus of the Year of the University of Louisville, and serves on the National Visiting Committee Advisory Board, University of Louisville Graduate School of Business.

About Chrysler LLC

Chrysler LLC, headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, produces Chrysler, Jeep(R), Dodge and Mopar(R) brand vehicles and products. Total sales worldwide in 2006 were 2.7 million vehicles. Sales outside of North America were the highest in a decade with an increase of 15 percent over 2005. On the heels of the company's record product launch year (Chrysler launched 10 all- new vehicles in 2006), the company plans to extend that streak with eight all- new products in 2007. Its product lineup features some of the world's most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300, Jeep Commander and Dodge Charger. The Chrysler Foundation, the company's philanthropic arm, gave $23.6 million in grants in 2006.

About Cerberus Capital Management, L.P.

Established in 1992, Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. is one of the world's leading private investment firms with approximately $26 billion under management in funds and accounts. Through its team of more than 275 investment and operations professionals, Cerberus specializes in providing both financial resources and operational expertise to help transform undervalued companies into industry leaders for long-term success and value creation. Cerberus is headquartered in New York City, with affiliate and/or advisory offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Baarn, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Osaka, and Taipei. More information on Cerberus can be found at

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