Wanted: A Few Good Managers At Fiat

Gianni Agnelli had an electrifying message when he got up to address the traditional end-of-the-year get-together of auto giant Fiat's top management on Dec. 11: After 30 years as chairman of Italy's largest industrial group, he would finally be stepping down. For many, it was more abdication than retirement. The patrician Agnelli, age 74, is not only his country's most important industrialist. He is also the most famous and influential Italian and is often seen as the uncrowned king of Italy. Until now, a Fiat without Agnelli seemed unthinkable.

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