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CEO, North America: SERGIO MARCHIONNE, CEO, Chrysler Group

Sergio Marchionne

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Europe's faltering economy has grabbed a large share of Sergio Marchionne's attention this year for obvious reasons. But even distracted, Chrysler's 60-year-old, sweater-wearing chief executive left an indelible mark on the North American auto industry.

In February, he scoffed at concerns raised by the National Automobile Dealers Association that the industry couldn't hit tightening CAFE regulations, and in September he left his dealers swooning with a parade of new products.

For dealers, Marchionne has led Chrysler to an unbroken string of 31 consecutive months of year-over-year sales gains, boosting their profits and the value of their franchises as well. The automaker returned to profitability in 2011 and expects to post profits of $1.5 billion this year.

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