Marchionne Opens Up In Interview – Car Pro News

I watched this interview and had a much better insight into Sergio Marchionne. If you would like to watch it, there is a link at the end of this article. The fear among Chrysler employees that the company will go under is gone, Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne told 60 Minutes Sunday night.
“I remember when I came here, in 2009, there’s not a thing worse for a leader than to see fear in people’s faces,” Marchionne told CBS reporter Steve Kroft. “It’s been a long, rocky road; but the fear has gone.”
Kroft interviewed Marchionne at Chrysler HQ in Auburn Hills, Mich., (where he’s abandoned the executive suite for an office on a floor of engineers); at Fiat HQ in Turin, Italy; and at Chrysler’s Belvidere, Ill., plant when Marchionne announced in February 1,800 new jobs to build the Dodge Dart for the U.S. and for export to 60 countries.
The Belvidere plant was down to 200 workers when Marchionne took over in 2009 — by the end of summer there will be 4,500, Kroft said.
The 60 Minutes segment recounts how close Chrysler was to collapse in 2009 before Marchionne negotiated a controlling stake for Fiat.
It also took an interesting personal look at the workaholic schedule kept by Marchionne, who flies back and forth between Italy and Auburn Hills and daily manages two automakers in two time zones.
For example, Marchionne can’t drive in Italy — he’s required by the government to travel in bullet-proof cars and is always surrounded by state security, according to Kroft. To manage Fiat, Fiat Industrial and Chrysler, Marchionne carries five phones. Typically, Marchionne in the U.S. goes to bed at 10 p.m. and wakes up 3:30 a.m. so he can discuss business in Italy during the day there.
Kroft also asked about Chrysler’s “It’s Halftime in America,” Super Bowl commercial this year, which was criticized by some Republicans who thought Clint Eastwood was endorsing President Obama and the federal auto bailout.
“I thought that the Republicans’ reactions to this was — was unnecessary and out of place,” Marchionne said.
The larger theme of the 60 Minutes piece was Chrysler’s improbable turnaround. In 2011, Chrysler had a $183 million profit — its first since 2005. Meanwhile, Fiat, which owns 58.5% of Chrysler, is struggling in the European slump and the combined company would have lost money last year without Chrysler’s profit.
Marchionne’s biggest concern today? “That we’re gonna slip on execution, we’re gonna get something wrong, big,” he said.
“Can you afford that?” Kroft asks.
“One car, yes … twelve months ago, it would have been … a disaster.”
To see the entire interview, click here:


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