Rising through the ranks at Fiat Chrysler
On his way to becoming the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., Michael Manley held a number of crucial roles in the upper ranks of FCA, and made Jeep sales soar to new heights.
It was pure fate that originally brought Manley, a native of the UK, into the DaimlerChrysler family. Lex Autosales was bought by DaimlerChrysler UK in the year 2000, and Manley – then working for Lex – was made director of network development for this UK Chrysler division. He was sent to work for DaimlerChrysler in the US in 2003, and quickly became a prominent and versatile force within the company. In 2008 he was promoted to Executive Vice-President of International Sales and Global Product Planning, taking on responsibility for product planning and all sales outside of North America, then moved into the position of COO for Chrysler in Asia.
It’s what came next that Manley considers to be the “turning point of his career.” In 2009, he was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the Jeep division. Under Manley, the brand achieved sustained sales growth, from 320,000 vehicles in 2009 to more than 1.2 million in 2015. It also launched the popular Renegade and revived the iconic Cherokee, which would again become one of Jeep’s best-selling vehicles.
Manley served as FCA’s ad interim COO for both the Europe, Middle East and Africa region and North America in 2018. And when CEO Sergio Marchionne suddenly passed away that year, Manley was quickly appointed to fill the top spot. He has vowed to execute Marchionne’s strategy for keeping FCA “strong and independent”; and while he acknowledged certain challenges facing the auto industry in the next five years, he pledged to keep a “laser focus on execution and a continued flexibility that allows us to adjust as circumstances change.”
This focus and agility, demonstrated by Manley in nearly two decades with FCA, has established him as one of the industry’s power players and an agent of hope for Fiat Chrysler.