Chrysler Names New Head of Namesake Brand

Chrysler Group LLC named Al Gardner to run its Chrysler brand, succeeding Saad Chehab, who becomes chief marketing officer for Maserati SpA.

Gardner, who joined the company in 1986, was director of Chrysler Group’s southeast business center. Chrysler, which is majority owned by Fiat SpA (F), also named Steve Beahm as senior vice president of supply chain management. Beahm, who started with Chrysler in 1987, was vice president of U.S. sales.

Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of both automakers, has led Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler to 43 straight monthly U.S. sales gains. Profits at Chrysler have helped Turin, Italy-based Fiat navigate Europe’s prolonged economic slump. Fiat also owns the Maserati and Ferrari supercar brands.

Chehab will no longer be a member of Fiat’s Group Executive Council, which is second to the company’s board in decision-making authority, Shawn Morgan, a Chrysler spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. The role of marketing chief at Maserati is a new one, the luxury-auto maker said in an e-mailed statement. Chehab will report to Maserati CEO Harald Wester.

Chrysler also said Tim Kuniskis, head of the Dodge brand, will add responsibility for Chrysler Group’s fleet operations, succeeding Peter Grady, who was named head of Maserati North America. Grady will remain vice president of dealer network development, according to a company statement today.

The appointments “represent important recognition of the positive contribution that each individual has brought to the organization,” Marchionne said in the Chrysler statement. 

Gardner’s promotion was reported earlier by Automotive News.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Clothier in Southfield, Michigan at mclothier@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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