Cerberus Capital Management has named former Home Depot CEO Robert Nardelli to lead its newly acquired Chrysler unit. Nardelli, who left Home Depot earlier this year, will become chairman and CEO of Chrysler, making him the second outsider recently named to lead one of Detroit’s struggling Big Three. He follows former top Boeing exec Alan Mulally, who was tapped last fall to take over Ford. Nardelli’s appointment puts him above Chrysler President Thomas LaSorda, an industry vet who had been CEO and will remain president.
“The arrival of two CEOs who aren’t part of or beholden to the U.S. auto industry’s culture and traditions is as potent a symbol of the change buffeting the U.S. auto sector as the news last week that the Big Three’s combined share of the U.S. market fell below 50% for the first time,” reported The Wall Street Journal. “Both will play key roles in what are expected to be tough negotiations over a new national labor agreement with the United Auto Workers union, in which the auto makers want big concessions to narrow a 30-an-hour labor-cost gap with the U.S. operations of Japanese auto power Toyota Motor Corp.”
Nardelli’s pay will be tied to Chrysler’s performance and based on the equity value of the auto maker, the story added.
In addition, COO Eric Ridenour has elected to leave the new company to pursue other opportunities. The COO position will not be filled going forward.