New Chryslers Dream Team

by : Evander Klum

Under the new ownership of Cerberus Capital Management LP, the company started to form its dream team for Chrysler's revival. Cerberus first appointed Home Depot executive Robert Nardelli as CEO and at the same time demoting Tim Lasorda, former CEO to being Vice Chairman and President. The Nardelli - Lasorda team seems not that promising enough to revive Chrysler, and additional automotive tycoons will pose higher resurgence rate for Chrysler LLC.

For the first 30 days of Cerberus' tenure of Chrysler, it appointed several automotive industry magnates to reinforce the Nardelli - Lasorda with Jim Press, Deborah Wahl Meyer, Andreas Schell and now, Philip Murtaugh.

Jim Press was formerly CEO of Toyota's North American Operations, his leadership at Toyota posed great risks for GM and Ford Motors (affiliate to another Japanese car maker Mazda, manufacturer of ) sales slope and eventually rise for the Japanese brand. He entered Chrysler's roof last September 6 to share the Vice-chairmanship and Presidency with Tom Lasorda. He will be in charge in overseeing Chrysler's North American and International sales, global marketing, product strategy, and service and parts.

Before Press entered the Chrysler picture, another Toyota executive was already in by the persona of Deborah Wahl Meyer. Meyer was formerly Toyota's Luxury division, Lexus' Vice-president of Marketing. In Chrysler, she will occupy the Chief of Marketing post.

Although Chrysler is no longer a member of the DaimlerChrysler AG, it still hired former DaimlerChrysler personnel, Andreas Schell to be the Director of its Recovery and Transformation plan. Schell will also be in charge of supervising the material cost management and will also be the executive planner for the Nardelli.

Appointed just last weekend, the newest member of line-up is Phil Murtaugh. Formerly the Chairman of GM's China Operations, Murtaugh will now be Chrysler's Chief for Asian Operations.

Before the dream team crossed Chrysler's wall, the recovery plan for the company had already been laid last February by Tom Lasorda, covering cost reductions and cutting almost 13,000 jobs, as well as focus on creating more fuel-efficient vehicles and promoting global growth through establishing strong alliances. Nardelli, with his team wants to see this plan in action.

"We don't need another strategy. We need to focus on execution." said Nardelli.

For Nardelli, the company needs to concentrate on five initiatives: focusing on customers, improving quality, becoming more environmentally sensitive, expanding globally and reinvesting in its people.

Those initiatives sound very promising. But before Nardelli came into the picture, quality improvement had already been Chrysler's goal for such a long time. Nardelli's predecessor, Dieter Zetsche, promised the world that by 2007, Chrysler's vehicles would match the quality of those from Toyota. For now, Nardelli will be the one to achieve that, only that it will set his own date.