Not many know that Sergio Marchionne is crazy about music. Well informed tell me that in his offices there is always background music coming from sophisticated hi-fi stereos. His recent quote from a famous Clash song “I am not going to do any more turnarounds. I’m done; let some of the young punks do it” should therefore not be surprising.
As could be predicted the hunt for the possible successors started up in the Italian press and as Marchionne said there will be at least two. Anyway calling them “young punks” says it all about what he really thinks, despite appearances, of the people in his team. In the best of cases “young punks” stands for “ young inexperienced” and immediately cuts out some of the alleged candidates such as Harald Wester and Cledorvino Belini who are not young.
We do not intend to take part in this game of names, there are still four years left to the deadline Marchionne has set and above all the last “turnaround’ announced in the strategic plan in May for 2014-2018 is yet to be done.
Rather one wonders how the “governance” will be in FCA after Marchionne’s departure. John Elkann has already said he has no intention of being involved (“The family’s non-executive role has worked well“), and the so called “young punks” in the last ten years haven’t had enough room inside the group to exert a true leadership, even supposing they had been capable of doing this.
The truth is that Marchionne has enjoyed and still enjoys a decisional power beyond imagination for companies the size of FCA and it may well be that his exit will turn into a great opportunity for FCA, the chance to become – at last – a normal company.