TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne today hinted that he will be stepping aside from the helm of the U.S. automaker within five years.
During a question-and-answer session at the 2011 Management Briefing Seminars, the 59-year-old executive said Chrysler's future plans will be "up to the guy after me, I think -- after 2015, hopefully. Maybe a year later. Chrysler will be here after me."
Marchionne currently is CEO of both Chrysler and its controlling shareholder, Fiat S.p.A. Over the last few weeks, he has begun integrating the management teams of the two companies while retaining oversight of North America.
In a meeting with journalists later, Marchionne clarified his succession plan.
"I technically can go beyond 2015," he said. "I wouldn't focus on the date. I would focus on the process."
"The process has been designed and I've always believed that my successor needs to come from the inside... and this enlarged management team where we have 22 people of nine nationalities is designed... to be a proving ground for people to sit and manage."
Speaking earlier this morning during a live radio program, Marchionne also said he expected smooth contract negotiations with the UAW.