Fiat is due to bring in a third CEO in six months after Gabriele Galateri resigned on Tuesday but the crisis-riddled industrial group reiterated its confidence in embattled chairman Paolo Fresco, Reuters reported.
According to Reuters, both executives had been expected to resign at a Tuesday board meeting.
Fiat said Galateri would stay until a replacement was named “at a new board meeting to be called as soon as possible” which Industry Minister Antonio Marzano said would be on Thursday, Reuters reported.
According to Reuters, Enrico Bondi, a manager close to Mediobanca was widely reported to be waiting in the wings to take over as CEO, potentially increasing the Milan-based investment bank’s influence over Fiat.
Reuters said Mediobanca, which scooped up a stake in Fiat’s Ferrari in June, favours splitting Alfa Romeo out of the core Fiat Auto unit and creating a luxury brand ‘pool’ though, the news agency added, that could scupper an option for Fiat to sell Fiat Auto to General Motors from 2004.
According to Reuters, Fiat’s top creditors, four of Italy’s leading banks, said a shake-up in Fiat’s plans and management could constitute “a substantial violation of the agreements reached last May” and could compromise Fiat’s restructuring plan.
The banks gave Fiat a three billion-euro loan in May, Reuters said, while imposing strict debt-cutting targets for the former icon of Italian industry which has been pulled deep into loss by slow car sales.
Reuters said Galateri, appointed in June, had been the banks’ ‘main point man’ within Fiat although the emergency funding agreement was struck before he joined.