Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne will leave an indelible mark on the auto industry when he retires early next year. During 15 years atop at first Fiat S.p.A. and later FCA he has been a master of value creation. It's been an impressive run.
But for Marchionne, it ain't over till it's over. While the 65-year-old CEO may be preparing to pack his bags, one thing is clear from the annual report FCA filed last week with government regulators: He has some big messes to clean up with many global government regulators before he goes.
According to the filing — known as a 20-F for foreign-based public companies — FCA is currently involved in a significant number of serious investigations in the U.S. and Europe.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice have been investigating FCA's monthly sales reporting since at least July 2016. That month, FCA restated six years' worth of previous monthly sales reports.
An ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Labor into payments to UAW officials from the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center has already resulted in a former FCA vice president and a former financial analyst pleading guilty to felony charges.
The company maintains that it was a victim of the scheme, though it is the defendant in several putative class-action lawsuits alleging harm to UAW workers from the actions of the former FCA employees.
Elsewhere, the EPA and the California Air Resources Board continue to investigate FCA for failing to disclose illegal software that bypassed emissions controls on about 100,000 diesel-powered Ram 1500s and Jeep Grand Cherokees.
The European Commission last year said it would take action against Italy over that country's certification of FCA diesel emissions. The certification has been challenged by other national regulators.
FCA also remains under the terms of a stringent and costly consent order with safety regulator NHTSA over its previous handling of recall campaigns in the U.S. The three-year consent order would have expired this year, but NHTSA exercised an option to extend it another year.
Next year, someone else will be running FCA's global operations. It would be good if the new CEO didn't have to spend his early days in the top job doing cleanup work.