The Business on: Sergio Marchionne, Chief executive, Fiat and Chrysler
Tuesday 08 February 2011
Do the Italians still love the man who turned Fiat around?
It's an affair that is souring, let's put it that way. A row is raging after Mr Marchionne suggested that he might move the headquarters of Fiat, one of Italy's biggest industrial names, to the US in a long-term merger with Chrysler.
Still, presumably the Americans are pleased?
Maybe about Fiat, but unfortunately, Mr Marchionne has rather upsetpeople in the US, too. As the boss of Chrysler, he has repeatedly complained about the cost of servicing loans that the car company took from the US government in order to avoid collapse a couple of years back. But using the term "shyster rates" at the weekend was a bit too provocative and he was forced to apologise yesterday.
Is he going to get away with this double blunder?
In a word, yes. Mr Marchionne is feted in the automotive industry for the way he turned Fiat around after arriving in 2004, despite having no experience of the car business. He is also making good progress at Chrysler, which is expected to return to the US stock market this year.
What's his secret?
Partly, it's good old-fashioned hard work. Mr Marchionne is famous for sleeping only a few hours a day, often on his private jet as he travels between Europe and the US – and for carrying six Blackberrys at a time so he can keep track of his various roles. He doesn't suffer fools gladly and has fired a string of executives at Fiat and Chrysler, but supporters say the way he has ripped up the traditional hierarchical structures of the car industry has paid dividends.
And what's he like?
Unconventional. Born in Italy, he moved to Canada at the age of two and retains dual nationality (he is multilingual too). He rarely wears a suit – preferring a jumper and smart trousers – chain-smokes and loves fast cars (he wrecked his Ferrari in an accident on a Swiss motorway a few years back). He is also a patron of the arts, classical music in particular.
- 1 Three of Pope Francis' relatives die in Argentina car crash, including two young great-nephews
- 2 Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
- 3 Here’s the damning letter Robin Williams wrote to his Mrs Doubtfire co-star's principal after they expelled her
- 4 Ferguson protests: 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein ‘arrested’ by police during St Louis demonstrations
- 5 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
Syria conflict: President Assad finally turns on Isis as government steps up campaign against militant strongholds
Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
Ice Bucket Challenge: Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Oprah – the most entertaining reactions so far
Iraq crisis: Islamic State's message to America - 'We will drown you all in blood'
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum + bonus+benefits+package: Harrington Starr: Junior D...
£600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Java/Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, ...
£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...
£30000 - £44000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Web deve...