Management Shakeup at Chrysler as Accavitti, Fong Leave

Ram Truck Spin-off May Explain Dodge Chief's Departure

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) – There has been a management shakeup at Chrysler Group today with the automaker announcing Michael Accavitti and Peter Fong have left the company.

Michael Accavitti
Michael Accavitti
Mr. Accavitti was president-CEO of Dodge and also oversaw worldwide marketing for all Chrysler brands. The Detroit native, who joined Chrysler in 1984, was in the final throws of a review for all fourth-quarter advertising. He "has resigned to pursue other interests," Chrysler said. Mr. Accavitti likely disagreed with new management's formation of a fourth brand, the Dodge Ram truck brand, spun off from Dodge cars, said two executives close to the matter.

He could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Fong, president-CEO of the Chrysler brand, "has resigned for personal reasons," the automaker said in a prepared statement. Mr. Fong joined Chrysler from Ford as director of the mid-Atlantic business center. He told Automotive News at the recent Frankfurt Auto Show that the automaker planned to elevate the Chrysler brand higher than General Motors' luxury Cadillac brand and that it wanted to cover all vehicle segments.

Francois Olivier
Francois Olivier Credit: Chrysler Group LLC
Messrs. Accavitti and Mr. Fong had each been appointed to their latest positions in June, when the "new" Chrysler emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Italy's Fiat now controls 20% of Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is also the CEO of Chrysler Group.

Unbundling Dodge cars from trucks "will allow us to protect and develop the unique nature of the product offerings within the Dodge brand," Mr. Marchionne said today.

He tapped Olivier Francois as president-CEO to succeed Mr. Fong on the Chrysler Brand, with profit and loss responsibility for the product portfolio. Mr. Francois will keep his position as head of Fiat's Lancia brand and be the top global marketing executive on all of Chrysler Group's brands.

Fred Diaz
Fred Diaz Credit: Chrysler Group LLC
Heading the new Dodge Ram truck brand is Fred Diaz Jr., previously director of the Denver business center. Mr. Diaz, who joined Chrysler in 1989, will also be the lead executive of the U.S. sales organization.

Ralph Gilles was appointed president-CEO of the new Dodge car brand, but he will continue to lead Chrysler Group's product design organization, which he joined in 1992.

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