Demel is back in the car business.
Herbert Demel is returning to supplier Magna International 100 days after becoming the third Fiat Auto CEO to leave in 38 months.
Demel's three predecessors in Europe's most volatile car-boss job all left the auto industry.
On June 1, Demel, 51, will become president of Magna Powertrain Group. Magna created the new E2.4 billion business by combining the driveline activities of Magna Steyr Drivetrain, the powertrain activities of Magna's Tesma International operations and New Venture Gear, a transmission and transfer case maker Magna bought in May 2004 from DaimlerChrysler.
This is Demel's second turn at Magna. Before he left in November 2003 to become Fiat Auto CEO, he had headed Magna's Austrian subsidiary, Graz-based contract manufacturer Magna Steyr.
Vienna-born Demel was the first non-Italian to head Fiat Auto, but he remained on good terms with Magna.
"The first call I received after the announcement I was leaving Fiat Auto came from Frank Stronach," Demel said.
Stronach is the founder, controlling shareholder and chairman of Canadian supplier Magna Inter-national, a $20.65 billion (E16.45 billion) company based in Aurora, Ontario. Magna, which became the world's No. 3 supplier last year, has 81,000 employees in 22 countries.
Demel had only headed Fiat Auto for seven months before the arrival of Sergio Marchionne, a finance expert with no automotive background. Marchionne is the fifth Fiat group CEO since 2001. He and Demel clashed over the strategy for restructuring Fiat Auto, the group's largest subsidiary. After ousting Demel February 17 of this year, Marchionne took direct control of Fiat Auto.
In his new job at Magna, Demel's immediate task will be integrating the operations of the three companies merged to create his unit. They have 34 manufacturing plants, nine r&d centers and 11,000 employees. The group will compete most directly with German suppliers ZF Friedrichshafen and Getrag and US-based BorgWarner.
Demel will relocate to Vienna, but will have a second office in Canada. Because 60 percent of the new unit's business is in North America, Demel will initially spend about two-thirds of his time in North America.