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Marchionne names his Fiat fixer

Published November 12, 2012

Fiat SpA appointed Alfredo Altavilla, a close adviser to chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne on the deal to take control of Chrysler Group LLC, to turn around its unprofitable European business.

Altavilla gave up his position as head of Fiat Industrial Spa’s Iveco truck unit to replace Gianni Coda as chief operating officer of Europe, Middle East and Africa “effective immediately,” the Turin, Italy-based company said in a statement. Coda retired after 33 years at Fiat.

The management change follows Marchionne’s new plan to revive Fiat’s European business, which the company expects to lose 700 million euros ($891 million) this year. The downturn in its home region prompted Fiat to cut its 2014 profit goal by 31 per cent to 5.2 billion euros. The turnaround focuses on boosting production at underused Italian factories by introducing 19 new models through 2016, including a compact Jeep model, nine Alfa Romeo cars and six Maserati vehicles.

Altavilla’s departure from Iveco came as Fiat Industrial announced a new organizational structure as part of its preparations for a merger with tractor unit CNH Global NV. Richard Tobin, CEO of Amsterdam-based CNH, was appointed chief operating officer for the group. Andreas Klauser will represent Iveco on Fiat Industrial’s new group executive committee.

Altavilla, who is also head of business development for Fiat and Chrysler, joined Fiat in 1990 to manage product development, international ventures and strategic planning. He was named head of Iveco truck unit in 2010 to carry out the spinoff of Fiat Industrial SpA from the carmaker.

Altavilla, 49, whose father owned a dealership selling cars from Fiat’s Lancia brand, was closely involved in the negotiations to gain control of Chrysler in 2009.

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