New appointments show what Manley has learned about Fiat Chrysler management

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CEO Mike Manley already has a whole series of problems to deal with at FCA.

Sergio Marchionne was easily the busiest CEO in the automotive industry in generations. He traveled constantly. He worked endlessly. He took it, he argued, he argued, he considered, he fiancĂ© – really whatever verb you would like to use for heavy decision-making – without end.

But let's face it, now that we have had four months to deal with what happened at the end of July: the hectic, non-stopping pace of Marchionne drew the man himself far too heavily.

With Thursday's appointment of two outsiders to major executive roles – Mark Stewart as COO of FCA North America and Niel Golightly as global chief communications officer – the successor of Marchionne, FCA CEO Mike Manley, has made it abundantly clear that he will once again face a difficult language has learned lessons from his deceased boss.

The role that Stewart assumes is not a job at entry level. Marchionne himself was COO for FCA in North America until his death in July, when it became one of the many titles that Manley was sadly injured.

Under the Byzantine management structure of FCA, the COOs for each of the regions of the company are responsible for almost everything that occurs there. And since North America is by far the most profitable region of FCA – the profit margin in the region rose to 10.2 percent in the third quarter – contributing to the performance of the company as a whole, the North American COO- task absolutely vital.

Marchionne saw the cross-connecting executive matrix of Fiat Chrysler – the management structure with the same executives fulfilling several important global roles – as an important force, a way to make decisions and implement "at the speed of light".

That may be true, but no other automaker ever copied it, and with good reason: it is exhausting, perhaps even life-saving.

At the age of 51, Stewart is only a few months younger than FCA-CFO Richard Palmer, Tim Kuniskis, head of the Jeep and Alfa Romeo brands, and Reid Bigland, head of FCA Canada, US sales and the Ram brand. Palmer, Kuniskis and Bigland will have turned 52 by the end of February, while Manley is only 54. While Stewart's annual head of Amazon is making headlines, his long background at Tower Automotive and later as executive member with TRW and ZF TRW is probably what will most help him in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Manley already has a whole series of problems to deal with at FCA: straightening operations in China, targeting the profitability ship at Maserati and increasing profitability from Europe and Latin America. The last thing he has to worry about is North America.

Fortunately for him, FCA & # 39; s North American operations are now running as well as they could, as shown by the hefty profit margin.

That means that it is just as good as anyone to give the stick.