Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has been visiting last week Sergio Marchionne’s Chrysler – a unit of Fiat SpA and soon part of the merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Although the executive’s move to form FCA and put its headquarters in London, together with a primary share listing on the New York Stock Exchange has been seen as part of a broader plan to push Fiat SpA away from its Italian home base, Marchionne backed Renzi throughout the meeting. The leader of Italy’s largest private employer said the recently appointed Prime Minister should ignore critics and go on with the country’s reforms.
“What is important is that he must have the courage to forge ahead without being intimidated,” Marchionne said at a joint press conference with Renzi in Auburn Hills, Michigan. “I’ve been heavily criticised in certain Italian quarters, and I never gave a hoot. In my opinion, (Renzi) must do the same,” he continued.
The 39-year-old government official, who took office in February, has promised a swift revival of euro zone’s third biggest economy, which has faltered again into its third recession in six years in the second quarter.
Marchionne has been running Fiat SpA since 2004 and has managed to pull the Italian automaker from a huge crisis into acquiring the third largest US automaker, which now supports the ailing carmaker through another crisis brought by Europe’s six-years slump in demand.