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Fiat to name top executives for new Chrysler board

May 28, 2009 16:59 IST

Italian car maker Fiat will name its chief executive Sergio Marchionne, head of business development Alfredo Altavilla and former vice-chairman of ExxonMobil Lucio Noto to the board of the new and restructured US-based Chrysler.

The Financial Times report citing Altavilla's court testimony stated that, "Fiat will name chief executive Sergio Marchionne, Alfredo Altavilla, its head of business development, and Lucio Noto, former vice-chairman of ExxonMobil, to the board of new Chrysler."

Altavilla also said Marchionne should be named chief executive and "spend a substantial amount of time in Detroit."

He also said the deal that would create an alliance between the two car makers could close a few days after a US bankruptcy court approves the proposed sale of most of Chrysler's operations to a group, including the US government, the United Autoworkers Union and Fiat.

The report stated that Fiat would reconsider if the transaction does not close by June 15 or if the bankruptcy process does not free the Detroit auto maker of liabilities like tort claims.

On Wednesday, Judge Arthur Gonzalez began to hear objections, which numbered more than 300, but centered on the opposition of Chrysler's dealers and secured lenders to the sale, the daily noted.

The plan calls for Chrysler to close nearly 800 dealerships and settle a $6.9-billion secured loan with $2-billion. The hearing would resume Thursday and could run until Friday, it added.

Quoting Chrysler's lawyers, FT said, the sale is necessary to avoid liquidation and approval would mean ailing auto maker will emerge from bankruptcy in roughly one month from its filing.

Altavilla also said that Fiat may not have proceeded with the deal if Chrysler had not filed for bankruptcy, regardless of whether all of the senior lenders signed off the deal.

"We would have needed to reconsider…but more likely not," the FT report said quoting Altavilla.

Beyond the top brass, Chrysler staff would remain mostly American. "We don't intend to ship hundreds of Italians who would get lost in the Wal-Mart," Altavilla added in the report.

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