There will be 11 members of the new board of directors when Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Groupe PSA complete their merger but one name is notably absent: Michael Manley, the CEO of FCA who helped drive the deal between the two automakers.
The announcement raises new questions about what – if any – role the British-born executive will have with Stellantis, the name of the combined company.
But there seemed little likelihood Manley would manage to wrangle a position on the board, the two carmakers decreeing that there would be only two executive members getting seats once the deal is completed. That is expected to happen during the first quarter of next year barring any new setbacks.
The two executive members of the board will be Carlos Tavares, the current CEO of PSA, and John Elkann, FCA’s chairman. Following the completion of the merger, the two men will retain those positions under Stellantis.
Manley is a relative short-timer as FCA’s chief executive, assuming that job in July 2018 following the unexpected death of his predecessor and mentor, Sergio Marchionne. As the new CEO, Manley set out to complete one of the key goals set by Marchionne, finding a merger partner that could help FCA boost its sales and lower costs through improved economies of scale.
Manley appeared to have a marriage offer in place in spring 2019 when it worked out a tentative deal with Renault, the largest of the French automakers. But the deal fell apart, in part, due to the objection of Renault’s Japanese alliance partner, Nissan. In an ironic twist, Manley was able to pull together an alternative plan with Renault’s archrival barely half a year later. A preliminary agreement was released last December.
There have been a few challenges, including European Union concerns about the combined van business of the combined two manufacturers. And the partners-in-waiting recently made some financial adjustments reflecting the harsh impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
At this point, the two companies are working out the final details, with a goal of completing the process by early in 2021.
With the CEO and Chairman jobs at Stellantis pre-ordained, the question has been where Manley might fit into the new company. No new assignment has yet been announced.
While only two executives will be on the Stellantis board, the future partners also agreed to provide a spot for someone with ties to each of the two companies. For FCA, that position will be filled by Chairman John Elkann’s cousin, Andrea Agnelli, the head of Italian football club Juventus. He is part of the family that holds a controlling interest in FCA.
PSA’s appointee, meanwhile, will be Henri de Castries, former CEO of insurance giant Axa. He sits on several other boards, including Nestle S.A.
- Fiona Clare Cicconi, the chief human resources officer at AstraZeneca PLC, will be one of three women on the Stellantis board and serve as a representative for FCA employees;
- Nicolas Dufourcq, CEO of the French government-controlled investment bank Bpifrance S.A.;
- Ann Frances Godbehere, director at Royal Dutch Shell PLC and a former financial executive;
- Wan Ling Martello, a partner and co-founder of the private equity firm BayPine;
- Jacques de Saint-Exupéry, currently head of the workers’ council at PSA and will serve as representative of the French automaker’s employees;
- Kevin Scott, the chief technology officer at Microsoft Corp.