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Manley Jumps Into CEO Role With Both Feet

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Who Could Have Known?

Published the 07/23/2018

Turin IT July 23, 2018; Theodore Chiarelli writing for La Stampa reported that Manley immediately entered the FCA fray. Without a moment of breath. The ruthless business laws do not allow for breaks even in the face of the drama that is being consummated at the Universitatsspital, the university hospital in Zurich where Sergio Marchionne has been hospitalized since 26 June. Already today and tomorrow in Turin the newly appointed FCA delegate, Mike Manley, will have to lead the work of Gec, the Group Executive Council, the maximum decision-making and strategic body of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. It meets periodically and the top managers of the various companies in the group take stock of the situation in every respect. It is the first time without Marchionne. And today the markets will tell us how the sudden and shocking exit of the manager with the black sweater will be welcomed. The debut with the financial community for Manley as ad of FCA is instead scheduled for Wednesday when the half-year accounts will be approved followed by the traditional call conference, in which the ad and the cfo, chief financial officer officer, or financial manager.

Yesterday John Elkann wrote to the 250 thousand employees (of which 55 thousand in Italy) of FCA inviting them to square around the new ad. "I am sure that you will all provide maximum support to Mike, working with him and the leadership team to achieve the goals of the 2018-2022 business plan with the same commitment and integrity that have guided us so far". It will not be a simple challenge that will have to face Manley, even if the man, from nine years to the Jeep brand, has been able to conquer respect and consideration in the very self-referential world of the automotive. The numbers speak for themselves: from 300 thousand to 1.4 million cars sold in ten years. With the aim of growing again. Up to 5 million in the plan to 2022. English of Edenbridge, 54 years on March 6, an engineering degree at Southbank University in London and a master's in business, the successor of Marchionne and creator of the miracle Jeep right on the US brand bets together with its president Elkann. The new automotive couple is aiming hard with a plan, the one outlined by Marchionne, which provides for the release of ten new models by 2022. "We will consolidate the brand to resist the competition. In the next five years we will enter into three new segments: small uv (utility vehicles), pick-ups and large suvs ", the British manager, who has been running Ram since October 2015, explained last June in Balocco. "Years of glory are waiting for us," Manley had told the investor day. Just he had made it clear that the unpublished little Jeep, a car the size of the Panda, would be built in Italy.

Yes, Italy. Marchionne in June had ensured that all the establishments of the Belpaese would keep work and occupied. Concentrating in Italy the Premium productions of Made in Italy: Maserati and Alfa Romeo and part of the family 500. Di Jeep said, but we must add that in the States Fca also focuses very much on the Ram brand, that of pick-ups that drive the Americans. Manley will then have to accelerate on innovation, above all on hybrid and electric engines that have not been invested so far, also due to lack of adequate resources. But now FCA earns and has no more debts. The plan that leaves the Italian Canadian manager legally envisages investments of 9 billion over five years on electrification. It's not much if you look at the competition, but it's a good place to start.

After all, Manley will always be able to count on Marchionne's legacy: teaching to always look at new goals. "Continuous improvement is a fundamental part of our culture", said the manager of Abruzzo origin in Balocco. And he also mentioned Ernest Hemingway: "There is nothing noble about being superior to someone else, true nobility is to be superior to who we were yesterday." Words, he had explained, that reflect the way the FCA world of being different. "Continuous improvement is a fundamental part of our culture. We will never live the same day twice, because we know that it is always possible to improve something. We will never rest on the laurels of the results achieved because the only approach we know is to always look ahead, to reach new and higher goals. Our ultimate goal, the real goal, is what we have yet to achieve. A way of being, this, deeply rooted in our organization and is what makes it capable of dealing with changes in the market. It's what makes FCA a special group and I think it's also the element that guarantees us the ability to reach our goals, every time ". Then he had closed, alas, prophetically: "This is the legacy we can be proud of leaving to those who will come after us."

Marchionne and Elkann, despite some divergence that has remained within the limits of a normal dialectic between manager and shareholder, have always stubbornly pursued the design of a global and integrated FCA in which American and European culture merge, without forgetting the Brazilian side. Marchionne's premature exit of the scene could open new scenarios? The very recent public releases of Elkann seem to indicate a road in the wake of continuity. But you can not ignore the risk represented by the destructive fury of the duties war that could mess up everything. And then even the stew considered absolutely indigestible by Marchionne could end up being taken into consideration. Giving space to those who would see an "American" conflation for Jeep and Ram, or a marriage with GM or Ford that would make Trump so happy. While Alfa, Maserati and 500 could end up with a German wedding (Bmw, Mercedes or Volkswagen). In both cases with Exor as a financial partner.

Opposite the Made in Italy branch could flow into a luxury pole next to Ferrari, under the hat of the Agnelli financial company. But here we are really in a futurable for now inscrutable. The near future is called Manley and will be declined according to the road traced by Marchionne.