Fiat needed less than 2 hours to complete its first shareholder meeting in Amsterdam on Thursday, which was attended by just 17 people. It's previous gatherings near Turin would draw hundreds -- including a who's who of the Italian auto industry -- and take up to 12 hours to complete because of all the drama.
Those meetings were legendary. Thursday’s meeting was ordinary.
I remember more than 20 years ago when Fiat was forced to move its annual investor meeting from its headquarters in Turin to its Lingotto factory because it needed room to accommodate 500 people.
A fun highlight of those meetings was when shareholding retired Fiat engineers would use their time at the podium to show former chairman Gianni Agnelli, grandson of Fiat founder Giovanni Agnelli, the technical drawings they had prepared that would revolutionize everything from engines to manufacturing.
Another thing that made those meetings special was seeing every power player in the country's automotive industry in the same room. It was a event no one missed because such an absence was going to be noticed.
Despite such a small turn out on Thursday, 68.5 percent of Fiat Chrysler's voting rights were represented in the room. Why? Because the Angelli-Elkann families' voting stake alone rose to 44.3 percent from 29.2 percent following the creation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles BV. The rise came because of a shareholder loyalty scheme that benefited investors with the biggest chunks of Fiat.
Just four shareholders posed questions on Thursday.
Everything was done in 1 hour and 47 minutes, making it the fastest shareholder meeting in at least the last quarter century.