Blog: Dave LeggettQuote of the week

Dave Leggett | 22 April 2010

I spoke to Rob Golding yesterday after he'd been listening to the marathon Fiat webcast to analysts.

Marchionne it seemed, had been enjoying himself, letting fly at analysts who disagree with him over Chrysler and very much playing the showman. The gallery lapped it up. Investors are particularly happy with the plan to split the group into separately listed auto and industrial companies, presumably because they can see greater shareholder value around the corner.

And, judging by the presentations I have seen (absolutely packed with detail), the audience would probably have appreciated a bit of pep and zing from the chief presenter.

Must admit, I did like this quote. You can see why investors like him.

“I used to think that the chemicals industry was the greatest destroyer of capital until I ran into this one. Now I suppose that it is the banks that have set a new standard for waste. But the level of arrogance in the auto industry is fantastic. There is nothing to be proud of.”

Incidentally, what's happening to Luca di Montezemolo after he steps down as Fiat Group chairman? Word on the street is that he has political ambitions and is no admirer of Silvio Berlusconi.

We were talking about the controversial Berlusconi yesterday. Has he become a laughing stock? How's he doing on the BY scale? BY? Boris Yeltsin. The former Russian leader with a penchant for vodka and generally inappropriate behaviour (eg not getting off aeroplanes while enjoying a post-binge snooze on state visits) seems like a reasonable yardstick in the 'most embarrassing leader' stakes. Anyway, Berlusconi's probably not quite there yet, but he's been making good progress in moving up the BY scale.

GOLDING’S TAKE: Marchionne’s gut-wrenching solution for the arrogant industry


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