The relationship between Sergio Marchionne and Chrysler has been a productive one, but as with all relationships, the love might not last forever: Marchionne told a crowd of reporters and analysts he will likely step down from the Chrysler helm four to five years.
Marchionne was speaking at the time at the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan, when he was asked about Chrysler’s long-term future plans. With a quote sounding strangely like a break-up letter — “there will be a Chrysler after me” — Marchionne answered that the automaker’s distant future probably won’t be in his hands.
Should his plans to step down ruffle any feathers, Marchionne took again to conciliatory talk about relationships: “I technically can go beyond 2015,” he told Automotive News. “I wouldn’t focus on the date. I would focus on the process.”
This comes just 27 months after Marchionne was announced as the CEO of Chrysler amidst bankruptcy and bailout. In the years since, Marchionne took over when Chrysler was part-purchased by Fiat, helped to lift it out of bankruptcy, and put a number of Fiat-sourced models in the production plans.
One week after standing behind President Obama at the announcement of new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, Marchionne also expressed his confidence that Chrysler will satisfy the latest round of requirements. Citing the fact that the new Chrysler 300 gets 31 mpg on the highway, Marchionne noted that there is plenty of time to leverage new technologies and continue the pace of improvement.