Fiat Chrysler announced a significant reorganization of its Group Executive council today, effectively dividing management for pickups/SUVs and passenger cars under two primary executives. SUVs and pickups will now fall under the purview of Mike Manley, who has been made Head of Ram. Manley, who will remain Head of Jeep as well as retain his position as Chief Operating Officer of APAC (Asia Pacific), was already on the GEC.
Passenger cars (namely Fiat, Chrysler, and Dodge/SRT), have now been rolled together into one NAFTA sector under the leadership of Tim Kuniskis. Kuniskis, formerly in charge of Dodge, Fiat, North American fleet operations, and Chrysler marketing, will join the GEC for the first time. Reid Bigland, currently Head of Alfa Romeo in North America as well as NAFTA Sales, will take the reins as Head of NAFTA fleet and retain his position on the GEC.
Robert Hegbloom will remain Head of Ram in North America, but now report to Manley as he vacates his GEC position. Al Gardner keeps his role as head of North American Network Development, and Jason Stoicevich is made Head of Fleet Operations and Small Business Sales for the U.S., reporting to Bigland.
But what does it mean?
According to industry analyst Stephanie Brinley of IHS Automotive, the decisions are evidence of FCA’s focus on NAFTA, its most significant region as for as percent profit and sales. “This restructuring puts a NAFTA-specific product voice on the GEC,” says Brinley. “Prior to this move, there were global brand heads on the GEC. “Manley’s influence in the company is further strengthened, as well. He’s responsible for the most profitable products, as well as for APAC, which is the strongest growth opportunity, even in the face of slowing China market growth.” Kuniskis’ promotion clearly represents a vote of confidence in him, according to Brinley. He will be in position to dictate how and what passenger cars attack each segment, which will be crucial moving forward as FCA isn’t nearly as competitive in these areas as it is with its SUVs and pickups.