If you know anything about the managerial team at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), you know that the name Reid Bigland. Bigland is a 22-year veteran with the company and has an impressive resume that outweighs most in the automotive industry. Currently, the Head of the Ram Brand, he also serves as the Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FCA Canada, Head of U.S. Sales, and also is a member of the Group Executive Council (GEC) at FCA. Since joining the “Chrysler Group” in 2006, he served as President of Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation, a subsidiary of then DaimlerChrysler, he also held titles such as President and CEO of both the Ram and Dodge brands, Head of Alfa Romeo North America, and Head of Alfa Romeo and Maserati globally.
Now, the FCA executive has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against his employer. According to an article posted in the Detroit Free Press, Bigland filed the suit in Oakland County Circuit Court on Wednesday, claiming that the company has retaliated against him for cooperating with the U.S. government investigation into the company’s sales reporting.
It was widely known, that Bigland was in the running to become the successor to the late former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne before his peer now CEO Mike Manley was chosen for the job.
The lawsuit claims that FCA also withheld most of his 2018 compensation, as punishment and to pay the company’s fines.
FCA released a statement about Bigland’s suit earlier this evening, that was reported by the Detroit Free Press, in which FCA states…
“We note the lawsuit filed by Reid Bigland. His eligibility for incentive compensation — like that of all corporate officers — is subject to a determination by the Board of Directors’ compensation committee that he has satisfied the applicable company and personal performance conditions. Mr. Bigland’s eligibility for his award remains subject to that determination and completion of a board-level evaluation of issues that are the subject to governmental investigations (as previously disclosed by FCA) in which FCA continues to cooperate. Beyond that, it would be inappropriate to comment on ongoing litigation or internal compensation processes.”
The U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission first started to look into FCA’s reported success in 2016, when the company posted a 75-month straight sales gain, which according to records actually ended around September 2013. Investigations began after two Illinois-based FCA dealerships, filed a civil racketeering suit against the company, in which it said that FCA offered dealers money to report unsold inventory as sold units. According to documents in the lawsuit, Bigland used sales reporting methods used by the company since the late-1980s. Those methods were also used by former CEO Marchionne and FCA CFO Richard Palmer.
While the suit states that the methods used during the time in question, had no impact on investors, it also says that FCA revised its practice of recording sales. The company has also made a recent decision to follow the likes of General Motors and Ford Motor Company to report its sales quarterly instead of monthly, which will begin October 1st.
For more information about the case, you can read the article from Detroit Free Press HERE: