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Fiat’s Sistino almost became a musician

Lorenzo Sistino, Fiat Automobiles CEO

Lorenzo Sistino
As a boy, Lorenzo Sistino had to decide which of his parentsí paths to follow. His father worked at contract manufacturer Carrozzeria Bertone. His mother was from a family of musicians.

After studying violin for five years, Sistino abandoned music -- something he still regrets.

After graduation, he worked in real estate development for two years in Turin. In 1984, he followed in his fatherís footsteps and joined Bertone.

At Bertone, he worked with Fiat dealers because they sold two models built by Bertone at the time, the Fiat X1/9 Spider and Ritmo cabriolet.

In 1987, he joined Fiat. His first assignment was area manager for Sardinia.

After almost a decade at Fiatís light commercial vehicles division -- now called Fiat Professional -- Sistino became head of Case New Holland, Fiatís agricultural equipment unit.

In 2007, he returned to the auto business as CEO of Fiat Automobiles. Last year, Fiat Automobiles sold 1.59 million units, up 14.4 percent from 2006. Fiat group CEO Sergio Marchionne wants Sistino to reach an even higher goal: more than 2 million units in 2010.Name: Lorenzo Sistino.

Title: CEO, Fiat Automobiles.

Age: 46.

Languages: Italian, English and a little French.

Nationality: Italian.

Family: Wife, Elvira; daughter, Elisa, 5.

Countries lived in: Italy, UK, US.

Education: Degree in political science from the University of Turin.

If you were a car, which one would you be?

A car from Fiat that is not too striking, but robust and with substance such as a Croma.

What was your first car?

A used red Fiat 500 built in 1961, which I bought in 1980, when it was older than me.

What is in your garage?

A black Fiat Croma for me, a sand-colored Sedici SUV for my wife.

What is in your CD player in your car?

A lot of classical music, mainly baroque. Also jazz music and rock from the UK group Queen.

If you could work in another industry, what would it be?

Real estate development, a sector

I worked in the first two years of my career.

What companies do you admire outside the car business?

High-tech companies. I am fascinated by their ability to continuously change and renew their products. We are in six-year life cycle industry.

If you could meet any figure from history who would it be?

Albert Einstein for his forward thinking.

What is your greatest professional achievement?

Creating and strengthening Fiat light commercial vehiclesí structure during my 10 years there.

What is your greatest personal achievement?

In the past, graduating while working. Now it is my family.

When do you get your best ideas?

Every morning around 8 a.m. during my 15-minute drive to the office.

What do you dislike about your job?

Nothing. I really love this job.

What do you do to relax?

As I am working very long hours, a good night of sleep is my preferred relaxation.

What was the most fun you had last year?

A US farm equipment show in Decatur, Illinois. Compared with auto shows, it is really another kind of show.

What was your most recent purchase?

A 500-gigabyte external hard drive to store all my digital music and pictures.

What are you good at?

I am a determined person. Normally, it is good, but sometimes it means not being ďpoliticalĒ enough.

How would you describe yourself to others?

I truly believe in personal relations. With my colleagues I am direct and sincere. And also very demanding.

What talent would you most like to have?

Many. The top three are: to be a good writer, to be able to play violin well; and to speak another couple of languages fluently such as German and French.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

When I get nervous. Unfortunately, it happens quite often. Luckily, it doesnít last long.

What is the trait you most dislike in others?


What is your most treasured possession?

My family.

What personal things do you have in your office?

My iPod.

What challenge do you face in your business?

To develop and grow the Fiat brand outside of Italy.

What is your greatest fear?

Losing my daughter.

You can reach Luca Ciferri at

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