MILAN, April 25 The restructuring of the Fiat
Chrysler group by its Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne
should be seen as a success story rather than a case of
offshoring operations, Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo
Padoan told a newspaper.
In 2003 Fiat was deeply in the red, posting a trading loss
of almost 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion). Marchionne, who took
the helm the following year, engineered a turnaround,
culminating in the takeover of U.S. carmaker Chrysler.
He has been criticised by some local politicians and unions
in Italy for seeking to shift the group's centre of gravity away
from its historic home base.
The Turin-based carmaker, founded 115 years ago, has said it
intends to register the holding group's headquarters in the
Netherlands and seek a tax domicile in Britain.
In an interview with Italian daily Il Foglio, Padoan said he
had a positive opinion of what Marchionne had done at Fiat in
"I think the Fiat story is not a question of offshoring but
rather a magnificent case of industrial transformation," Padoan
Moving its headquarters outside Italy has been a sensitive
topic among unions and politicians eager to protect jobs in
Fiat's home market but Padoan said the answer to preserving
employment was to improve conditions for industry.
"Our country should take steps so that staying in Italy
becomes beneficial for the future of businessmen," Padoan said.
Marchionne's attempts to change industrial relations with
Fiat's workforce was also a positive move, Padoan said. "It's an
example which I think should be followed."
Marchionne is seeking to introduce a system that would give
priority to labour contract negotiations at a company rather
than at national level.
($1 = 0.7236 euros)
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Pravin Char)