Chrysler has announced its new chairman will be C. Robert Kidder, 64, the former CEO of Duracell.
Kidder will be leading the new Chrysler once it emerges from bankruptcy and embarks on its future alliance with Fiat. But Kidder will not be CEO of the new entity, which will be called Chrysler Group LLC. That post will likely go to Fiat's Sergio Marchionne.
Chrysler recruited Kidder at the request of the Obama administration, which has demanded changes in leadership at the two automakers it has provided with bailouts, Chrysler and General Motors. Former GM CEO Rick Wagoner was forced to resign by the Obama administration back in March.
Current Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli will stay on through the bankruptcy proceedings and will then leave Chrysler for an adviser post at Chrysler's current parent company Cerberus Capital Management once the company emerges from Chapter 11.
Kidder will bring years of competent and successful executive experience to Chrysler, something government overseers likely find reassuring, although he lacks crucial automotive experience. And auto companies are notorious for their provincial corporate cultures, where top leaders are usually bred from within.
But Kidder's role will be more as an agent of stakeholder interests, making sure that Chrysler is properly managed. He will likely leave all the car stuff for Fiat and Marchionne to decide on.