Chrysler poised for new leadership plan

July 26, 2011 at 5:01 PM
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich., July 26 (UPI) -- U.S. automaker Chrysler said Tuesday losses in the second quarter reached $370 million, but paying off government loans would help future earnings.

Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of Chrysler and Fiat in Italy, said Chrysler's payoff of billions in government loans would save about $350 million per year, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The payoff also allowed Fiat to increase its shares of Chrysler to 53.5 percent, which allows Marchionne to restructure top management.

Marchionne said a new management structure would be announced soon -- as early as Friday. The plan, the newspaper said, is to reduce the number of executives who report to the CEO from 50 to 25.

Fiat stepped in when Chrysler emerged from its 2009 bankruptcy. Jay Baron, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, said the two companies have "done an incredible job merging these two cultures," The Detroit News reported.

Case in point, the News said: An Fiat Industrial SpA plant in Burr Ridge, Ill., includes two Americans, one Italian and one Canadian as its top four managers.

"I am making the final adjustments for the choices that we are making," Marchionne said without answering a question about his future position with the company.

"But if it is any comfort to you, I really like Chrysler," he said.

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