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Fiat is said to be close to naming Turin-born Gorlier as Europe chief

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Fiat Chrysler is nearing the appointment of Pietro Gorlier, chief operating officer of its components business, as the new head of Europe as part of a broad reorganization that may be announced as early as this week, according to people familiar with the matter.

[MILAN] Fiat Chrysler is nearing the appointment of Pietro Gorlier, chief operating officer of its components business, as the new head of Europe as part of a broad reorganization that may be announced as early as this week, according to people familiar with the matter.

Gorlier, a native of Turin, Italy, is the leading candidate to replace Alfredo Altavilla, who left the company at the end of August, after Fiat Chrysler Automobilies NV's board picked Jeep head Mike Manley to succeed Sergio Marchionne, said the people, who asked not to be identified before a public announcement. A final decision hasn't been made and other executives are still being considered, they added. Fiat declined to comment.

Gorlier, 55, oversees components makers Magneti Marelli and Mopar.

The carmaker will announce its new Europe chief as part of a management reshuffle by Manley, 54, who took the CEO reins on July 21 as Marchionne's health worsened. The former CEO died July 25, the same day Manley told investors that the carmaker was cutting its profit target for the year.

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A final decision on the new head of Europe may be made at a meeting of Fiat Chrysler's executive council, the company's top management body, later this week, the people said. Gorlier probably will be replaced by an internal manager at Magneti Marelli, they said. Fiat is evaluating bids for the unit after rejecting an initial offer by KKR's Calsonic Kansei, people familiar with the matter said Sept. 16.

Gorlier was one of Marchionne's closest aides. He joined Fiat in 1989 as a market analyst for its Iveco truck maker and moved to the parent company in 2006. When Fiat agreed to take management control of Chrysler in 2009, Gorlier was one of the few executives who moved from Turin to Detroit. In 2015 he was named head of Marelli and lead its turnaround as Fiat was preparing to spin off the unit.

The Italian manager will face a number of challenges: maintaining profit in the region that typically underperforms others at Fiat Chrysler amid price competition and lower margins; complete the transformation from mass-car production to more profitable Alfa Romeos and Maseratis, and moving from diesel to hybrid and electric cars, including at two engine plants in Italy.

Manley's reorganization may include also some top positions in North America, the people said. Before being named CEO in July during the dramatic weekend when Marchionne's condition worsened, Manley was head of the Jeep and RAM trucks divisions.

Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer, who also was a contender for the CEO job, has increased his duties by adding merger and acquisition duties.

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