Stellantis announced earlier this morning that Mike Manley will step down from his role as Head of Americas to take up the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at AutoNation Inc., America’s largest automotive retailer based in Florida, starting on Monday, November 1st.
Manley, who was inspirational in the global expansion and success to the growth of both the Jeep® and Ram Truck brands, took over the position of CEO of the former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), shortly before the unexpected death of former CEO, Sergio Marchionne in July 2018. Since then, He then realigned several of the top management positions within the company and stayed the course of Marchionne’s original plan for the company.
One of those plans was to find a partner for the Italian-American automaker to share architectures, technologies, and increased development costs of its future vehicle portfolio as global restrictions, emissions, and safety caused the cost to develop future products to rise drastically over the last decade. Marchionne made it no secret that it was his intention to do so, even at one time trying to merge the company with General Motors (GM).
Manley followed suit with an agreed equal merger with French automaker Groupe PSA, which led to the formation of Stellantis – the fourth-largest automaker by volume globally, earlier this year.
With Groupe PSA CEO Carlos Tavares taking the CEO helm of the new company, it has left the question if Manley will stick around or leave the new organization. Rumors had Manley taking the top spot at Ferrari, the Italian automaker majority-owned by the Agnelli family, the same family with a huge stake of ownership in FCA. Instead, current Stellantis Chairman John Elkann, who is a member of the Agnelli family, taking the CEO position of Ferrari on December 10th, 2020.
It left Manley, with what seemed like an “honorary position” as Head of the Americas overseeing operations for the Stellantis biggest market in volume. Since taking that position, Manley remained out of the spotlight, only showing himself at certain events like Tavares’ recent visit to the Warren Truck Assembly Plant (WTAP) to oversee the production launch of the all-new Jeep® Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer (WS). It left many to question Manley’s future intentions, especially after losing his spot on the Executive Board of the new company after the merger was completed.
Mark Stewart, who is the current Chief Operating Officer (COO) of North America, and Antonio Filosa, COO of Latin America, and the Top Executive Team members with responsibility for the North American and Latin American regions will henceforward report directly to Tavares.
“It’s been my privilege to know Mike first as a competitor, then as a partner and colleague in the creation of Stellantis, but most importantly, always as a friend. From the very earliest days of our discussions, we shared a truly common vision, belief, and commitment and it’s on these solid foundations, built over the past several years, that Stellantis has delivered its impressive early results,” Tavares said in an official statement. “So, while I’m personally sorry to no longer have Mike as a colleague, I’m equally delighted for his new CEO role and glad that he will be joining the board of the Stellantis Foundation.”
Stellantis Chairman, John Elkann also commented on Manley’s decision to move to the AutoNation role. Stating “I’d like to thank Mike for all that he has done over his 20 years with us. His time as the head of Jeep® was transformational for that flagship brand and then as the CEO of FCA, he led the company to record results through some of its most challenging moments. Working closely with Carlos, he was instrumental in the creation and successful launch of Stellantis. We wish him all the very best in his new role.”
Manley, who served as the long-time CEO of the Jeep brand was instrumental in what the brand has become today. As an enthusiast of the brand, he oversaw the expansion of the Jeep brand on a global scale bringing the sales of the brand from 320,000 vehicles in 2009 to 1.23 million in 2015. He also was CEO of the Ram Truck brand from 2015 to 2019, overseeing the launch of the 2019 Ram 1500. He also served as the COO for the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.
“After 20 incredible, challenging, and enjoyable years, and with Stellantis performing so strongly under Carlos’ leadership, the time feels right for me to open a new chapter. Working with Carlos to create this extraordinary company, with the constant support of our shareholders, has been a huge privilege both professionally and personally,” Manley stated about his departure. “I’m so proud of our Stellantis teams for their extraordinary work and I wish Carlos and them every success as they continue their great adventure. Finally, I am very honored to have been asked to join the Stellantis Foundation board.”