Officially Official: Dodge splits off Ram brand with new exec appointments

Rumors floating around since mid-summer that Chrysler would split the Dodge car and truck businesses into two separate units are now a reality. Chrysler Group LLC now consists of four brands: Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge Car and Dodge Ram. In early July after the latest iteration of Chrysler emerged from federal bankruptcy court, it was announced that the three existing brands would each get their own President and CEO with profit and loss responsibilities. As of today, only Michael Manley keeps his job as the boss of Jeep. Peter Fong, who had been put in charge of the Chrysler brand, has resigned for personal reasons and is being replaced by Lancia chief Olivier Francois who will also continue to oversee the Italian brand.

Former Dodge CEO
and marketing boss Michael Accavitti is leaving Chrysler to pursue other activities, and the marketing group will now report to Francois. The Ram side of the business now falls to Fred Diaz Jr. (right), who also takes over the sales reigns from Fong. Product design SVP Ralph Gilles (left) now also has responsibility for Dodge cars. Got all that?

The automaker's car and truck units were apparently split in order to "... protect and develop the unique nature of the product offerings within the Dodge Brand," although it's not exactly clear what is meant by this. In any case, you can try to make further sense of the moves by checking out the official press release after the jump.

[Source: Chrysler]


Chrysler Group LLC Announces New Appointments

Auburn Hills, Mich., Oct 5, 2009 -

Chrysler Group LLC today announces brand and commercial organization changes.

"The brand-focused strategy has been refined further with the unbundling of the Dodge Brand which now consists of the Dodge RAM Brand and the Dodge Car Brand organizations. This reorganization will allow us to protect and develop the unique nature of the product offerings within the Dodge Brand," Mr. Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer, Chrysler Group LLC said.

Fred Diaz Jr. is appointed President and CEO, Dodge RAM Brand with profit and loss responsibility for the Dodge RAM product portfolio. Mr. Diaz will also be the lead executive for the Sales organization in the United States. He was previously the Director of the Denver Business Center. Mr. Diaz has been with the Company since 1989 in positions of increasing responsibility. The Company will announce Mr. Diaz's replacement with a separate announcement.

Ralph Gilles is appointed President and CEO, Dodge Car Brand with profit and loss responsibility for the Dodge Car product portfolio. Mr. Gilles will continue to lead the Product Design organization of Chrysler Group which he joined in 1992.

Olivier Francois is appointed President and CEO, Chrysler Brand, with profit and loss responsibility for the Chrysler product portfolio. Mr. Francois joins the Company from Fiat Group Automobiles where he serves as head of the Lancia Brand, a position he retains. Mr. Francois will also be the lead executive for the Marketing organization with responsibility to coordinate worldwide marketing strategies, brand development and advertising for the Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge Car and Dodge RAM brands. He will continue to lead these functions within Fiat Group Automobiles. Mr. Francois joined Fiat in 2005.

Michael Manley will continue as the President and CEO, Jeep Brand with profit and loss responsibility for the Jeep Brand product portfolio. Mr. Manley will also be the lead executive for the international activities of the Company outside of NAFTA and will be responsible for implementing the co-operation agreements for distribution of Chrysler Group products through Fiat's international distribution network. Mr. Manley has been with Chrysler since 1998.

Joseph Veltri joins the Management Team as Head of Product Planning. Mr. Veltri started with the Company in 1988. His career has included positions in product planning, marketing, business strategy, and finance. He served most recently as Product Planning Lead and Head of Truck/SUV Planning.

Peter Fong, head of the Chrysler Brand has resigned for personal reasons. Michael Accavitti, head of the Dodge Brand has resigned to pursue other interests.

About Chrysler Group LLC
Chrysler Group LLC, formed in 2009 from a global strategic alliance with Fiat Group, produces Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Mopar® and Global Electric Motors (GEM) brand vehicles and products. With the resources, technology and worldwide distribution network required to compete on a global scale, the alliance builds on Chrysler's culture of innovation – first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925 – and Fiat's complementary technology – from a company whose heritage dates back to 1899.

Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., Chrysler Group LLC's product lineup features some of the world's most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300, Jeep Wrangler and Dodge Ram. Fiat will contribute world-class technology, platforms and powertrains for small- and medium-sized cars, allowing Chrysler Group to offer an expanded product line including environmentally friendly vehicles.

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