Blog: Dave LeggettFiat Auto: Leach in for Demel?

Dave Leggett | 9 November 2004

There are rumblings in the Italian press that Martin Leach could be about to replace Herbert Demel as Fiat Auto CEO. I'd give the reports some credence, in spite of the official denial from Fiat. It may be that the decision has been taken in principle, but that timing issues are still to be resolved. Herbert Demel hasn't been in the post long and can rightly feel hard done by I'd say. But, like a football team manager, when the results don't go your way as a CEO, the pressure builds for a fresh face and that pressure can become unstoppable.

And remember: it always looked likely that Martin Leach would step up to the big job eventually - it was just a matter of timing (upset by the Ford non-compete clause in Leach's contract). There may be some within Fiat (and its shareholders) saying that the time has now come. But, as he looks on, he may well have mixed views on the treatment meted out to Demel. The pressure will quickly be on him too, if he takes over. That hot seat is a bit different to Maserati where he may have wanted to spend a little more time. When I spoke to him in the summer, he seemed genuinely thrilled to be taking the Maserati job and I sensed a man in no hurry for other things.


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