Posted by: David Kiley on May 20, 2009
Chrysler LLC named C. Robert Kidder, 62, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Borden Chemical Inc. and Duracell International Inc., chairman of the company that will likely be re-named when it emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and aligned with Italian automaker Fiat.
Kidder, who heads 3Stone Advisors LLC, an investment firm that focuses on investing in “clean-tech” companies, succeeds Robert Nardelli, who has served as chairman and CEO of the automaker since August 2007. Nardelli said he is stepping down when Chrysler’s alliance with Fiat is formalized in the current bankruptcy court proceedings.
Kidder’s appointment continues a trend of executives outside the auto industry making big impacts on the turnaround of U.S. auto companies. Besides Nardelli, Ford has been headed, successfully most would say, by Alan Mulally, a former Boeing Co. executive.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne will hold the title of CEO at the newly formed company.
Industry sources familiar with the process at Chrysler say they expect the C-suite leadership at Chrysler to come primarily from Europe, rather than tapping U.S. executives. Chrysler vice chairman Tom Lasorda has already left. Vice chairman James Press has not yet been retained.
“I am pleased to join Chrysler at a time when Chrysler is poised to launch an exciting new era,” Kidder said in a statement. “I am confident that Chrysler will emerge from Chapter 11 a lean and powerful competitor.”
Kidder is not a total outsider to Michigan, having earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
A new board of directors to serve with Kidder is being assembled.