Sergio Marchionne seems to have taken up residence in Rome this week in a hectic few days that has seen the Fiat CEO hold discussions with the most senior Italian politicians as well as appear before a Parliamentary hearing.
The flurry of activity was prompted by comments made by Marchionne raising the possibility the Italian manufacturer could transfer its HQ to the US following any merger with Chrysler.
It’s not known what Marchionne wore to meet the Prime Minister and his Cabinet – it was a Saturday after all – but the Fiat boss is famous for dressing down.
However, spokespeople for both the economic development ministry and the hardline FIOM union both told just-auto that Marchionne put on best bib and tucker for his Parliamentary hearing before the Production and Transportation Committee in Rome yesterday (16 February).
FIOM noted Marchionne was not wearing his “January pullover,” while the economics ministry referred to him not sporting a blue version. Clearly Marchionne was taking this seriously, although Fiat is still leaving open the possibility of an evaluation of Fiat’s position post 2014.
A transcript of Marchionne’s hearing before the Committee in Parliament yesterday is due to be made available by the Italian government shortly to just-auto, but comments from sources in Italy indicated he put up a spirited performance.
A selection includes the Fiat boss apparently noting: “In Italy there [are] many people speak and speak, talk and talk without doing.”
And Marchionne’s spokesman was even more forthcoming, saying the Italian media reports were “confused, complete nonsense” and adding for good measure they had ” completely twisted this story.”
Well, that’s Fiat’s view but the politicians clearly think otherwise having called the CEO in twice in one week.
Add to that, late night talks in Rome on Monday between the economics ministry and the Sicilian government concerning the future of Fiat’s Termini Imerese plant, coupled with news the automaker is to restart its Corrozzeria Bertone plant and it’s been a week where Fiat has occupied the front page for just about every single day.
The Bertone news was cautiously welcomed by FIOM to just-auto today – a rare moment where the hardline labour body agreed with Fiat – although the manufacturer is insisting it needs a “clear and firm commitment from the trade unions.”
That coupled with the fact FIOM still has reservations about the future of Termini Imerese given there are only two automotive elements to the seven companies looking to take over the site, means Marchionne can still expect to be extremely busy for the foreseeable future.