Chrysler, Fiat discuss new management and board: report

DETROIT Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:46pm EDT

A Fiat car is parked in front of the Fiat headquarters in Turin in this file image from January 24, 2005. REUTERS/Max Rossi/Files

A Fiat car is parked in front of the Fiat headquarters in Turin in this file image from January 24, 2005.

Credit: Reuters/Max Rossi/Files

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DETROIT (Reuters) - Chrysler and potential partner Fiat SpA (FIA.MI) are discussing a new management and board for the U.S. automaker under a proposed alliance that could see Fiat take a stake in Chrysler, Automotive News reported on Monday.

Chrysler is racing to complete a partnership with the Italian automaker by April 30, with the Obama administration warning the alternative would be bankruptcy.

The two automakers are discussing a new seven-member board for Chrysler that would include representatives from Fiat and possibly President Barack Obama's automotive task force overseeing the restructuring of the auto industry, Automotive News reported, citing sources close to the negotiations.

Also among the options under discussion is a direct role in Chrysler's operations for Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, possibly even the chief executive's job, according to the report.

Since 2007, Chrysler's chairman and CEO positions have been held by Bob Nardelli, appointed by Chrysler's private equity owner Cerberus Capital Management CBS.UL.

The paper said the new management structure would divide the roles of CEO and chairman between two executives, with the job of Chrysler chairman likely to be held by an American.

A Fiat representative declined comment. Chrysler was not immediately available for comment.

On March 30, President Barack Obama gave Chrysler and Fiat until the end of April to prove their alliance is workable, saying the government would consider investing up to another $6 billion if the tie-up is completed. Chrysler already has received $4 billion of government loans.

Fiat's Marchionne was in the United States last week for talks with Chrysler on the proposed alliance, a source close to Fiat told Reuters on Thursday.

The framework of the deal is for Fiat to take a stake in Chrysler that would start at 20 percent in return for access to its small car technology and vehicle platforms, another source familiar with the partnership said.

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim; Editing by Andre Grenon)

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