Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and related companies, has a number of honorifics and titles on his resume.
But there is one important task that doesn't get talked about that much: Sherpa.
I refer to Marchionne's desperate quest to find a merger partner for FCA. He is shouldering the load for the billionaire Agnelli family that employs him.
Actually, Marchionne reminds me more of a modern Sisyphus, the cunning and resourceful figure in Greek mythology who was condemned by Zeus to endlessly roll a boulder to the top of a mountain, only to have it roll back down and his toil begin again.
There have been countless theories offered by analysts and in the press as to why Marchionne is on this quest to merge FCA with another automaker. They speak of a desire by Marchionne to do "one last deal" and "cement his legacy."
Even Marchionne's stated reason for this quest -- that duplicate engineering effort among automakers wastes an enormous amount of capital -- rings hollow when the simple question is asked: Why now?
And "Why now?" is the key question. After all, it's not like circumstances have deteriorated significantly since FCA's global investor conference in May 2014. If anything, the company's situation has improved from a year ago when key executives laid out FCA's ambitious global plans in great detail.
Faith -- true faith -- doesn't wax and wane with the whims of stock prices.
But faith can be destroyed. It can also be sacrificed on an altar that celebrates only monetary gains, rather than the work and sacrifice and creativity that create them.
I do not believe that this very public quest for consolidation emanates simply from a desire to make the auto industry moderately more efficient. Remove from FCA's ledger the billions being spent to resurrect Alfa Romeo and the automaker's global profitability becomes considerably better in comparison to others.
But "Why now?" has only a few possible answers.
One is that the Agnelli family believes it has amassed all the wealth it can from its extensive global automotive holdings and has tasked Marchionne with cashing it in.
Or it could be that the automaker's big bet on Alfa, which will be launched in Milan on June 24, didn't turn out as planned and the Agnellis want to cash out before the news gets around.
Either way, this quest likely doesn't end well for anyone who is not an Agnelli descendant.