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Non-family CEO gets his way at Fiat

Fiat, the Italy-based conglomerate controlled by the Agnelli family, gained approval form its shareholders on 16 September to split its industrial business from the car manufacturing unit to create two separate companies.
Fiat will comprise the group's car brands including Fiat, Ferrari and Maserati, while Fiat Industrials is to be made up of the company's Iveco trucks unit, which makes farm and construction equipment.
"The demerger of the group and the creation of two separate entities will finally solve a strategic issue that has for years been a thorn in the side of Fiat," said non-family CEO Sergio Marchionne at the shareholder meeting announcing the split.
Fiat Industrial will operate independently of Fiat with its own management board and is expected to list on the Milan stock exchange early next year. The move is also expected to facilitate a merger between Fiat's car business and Chrysler, the US carmaker that Fiat took a 25% share in last year.
Fifth-generation Fiat chairman John Elkann (pictured) called the move "historic" at a press conference following the extraordinary general meeting.
Elkann was chosen by his grandfather, the former Fiat chairman Gianni Agnelli, to lead the family business after the untimely death of Elkann's cousin, Giovanni Agnelli, from cancer at just 33. Many in Italy view the family as the country's unofficial royalty and their wealth is estimated to be between €3 and €5 billion.
Fiat has been under the control of the Agnelli's since it was founded in 1899 and had 2009 revenues of €50.1 billion.

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