After several rumors and reports, Chrysler has now confirmed that the Dodge Ram will be spun off into its own brand with the appointment of two individuals. Fred Diaz Jr., formerly Director of the Denver Business Center, will now head up the RAM brand, while Ralph Gilles will take over at the helm of the car brand. Gilles will also continue to run the product design department at Chrysler Group.
“The brand-focused strategy has been refined further with the unbundling of the Dodge Brand which now consists of the Dodge RAM Brand and the Dodge Car Brand organizations,” said Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne. “This reorganization will allow us to protect and develop the unique nature of the product offerings within the Dodge Brand.”
Within this new corporate structure, Marchionne also appointed a new Chrysler brand CEO; Olivier Francois, who comes from Fiat’s Lancia Brand and will continue in his position there as well.
Official release after the jump:
Chrysler Group LLC Announces New Appointments
Auburn Hills, Mich., Oct 5, 2009 –
Chrysler Group LLC today announces brand and commercial organization changes.
“The brand-focused strategy has been refined further with the unbundling of the Dodge Brand which now consists of the Dodge RAM Brand and the Dodge Car Brand organizations. This reorganization will allow us to protect and develop the unique nature of the product offerings within the Dodge Brand,” Mr. Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer, Chrysler Group LLC said.
Fred Diaz Jr. is appointed President and CEO, Dodge RAM Brand with profit and loss responsibility for the Dodge RAM product portfolio. Mr. Diaz will also be the lead executive for the Sales organization in the United States. He was previously the Director of the Denver Business Center. Mr. Diaz has been with the Company since 1989 in positions of increasing responsibility. The Company will announce Mr. Diaz’s replacement with a separate announcement.
Ralph Gilles is appointed President and CEO, Dodge Car Brand with profit and loss responsibility for the Dodge Car product portfolio. Mr. Gilles will continue to lead the Product Design organization of Chrysler Group which he joined in 1992.
Olivier Francois is appointed President and CEO, Chrysler Brand, with profit and loss responsibility for the Chrysler product portfolio. Mr. Francois joins the Company from Fiat Group Automobiles where he serves as head of the Lancia Brand, a position he retains. Mr. Francois will also be the lead executive for the Marketing organization with responsibility to coordinate worldwide marketing strategies, brand development and advertising for the Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge Car and Dodge RAM brands. He will continue to lead these functions within Fiat Group Automobiles. Mr. Francois joined Fiat in 2005.
Michael Manley will continue as the President and CEO, Jeep Brand with profit and loss responsibility for the Jeep Brand product portfolio. Mr. Manley will also be the lead executive for the international activities of the Company outside of NAFTA and will be responsible for implementing the co-operation agreements for distribution of Chrysler Group products through Fiat’s international distribution network. Mr. Manley has been with Chrysler since 1998.
Joseph Veltri joins the Management Team as Head of Product Planning. Mr. Veltri started with the Company in 1988. His career has included positions in product planning, marketing, business strategy, and finance. He served most recently as Product Planning Lead and Head of Truck/SUV Planning.
Peter Fong, head of the Chrysler Brand has resigned for personal reasons. Michael Accavitti, head of the Dodge Brand has resigned to pursue other interests.