Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has appointed a new managing director to head its Australian business.
FCA UK managing director and the head of Jeep for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Steve Zanlunghi (pictured above) has taken the reigns at FCA Australia’s Port Melbourne HQ, replacing Pat Dougherty (below) who has been redeployed to Shanghai as the company’s Head of Aftersales for the Asia Pacific region.
It is the second change at the top at FCA Australia in two years after Dougherty replaced former MD Veronica Johns. She is tangled up in claims that the managing director she replaced, Clyde Campbell, allegedly misappropriated millions of dollars in company funds.
Dougherty’s appointment in 2014 provided the company a clean break from the controversy, but FCA Australian sales have since slumped with a 50 percent drop in sales across its brands during the first half of this year alone.
With the company set to embark upon an ambitious new product roll out, it is hoped Zanlunghi will be able to replicate FCA’s recent success in the UK and Ireland markets, which thrived under his stewardship.
Zanlunghi joined Chrysler in 1997, working in in the US manufacturer’s Customer Center before being appointed to a number of senior executive positions across the United States and Europe.
The Australian national was named FCA UK’s Managing Director in July 2012, while at the same time being appointed Chairman of FCA Ireland, overseeing a period of unrivalled growth for the company in the region.
In February 2015, he was named Head of Jeep Brand – Europe, Middle East and Africa. In this role, he developed the EMEA regional Jeep brand strategy, including product, sales, marketing and network development, while maintaining his responsibility for the UK and Irish markets.
In a statement released this week, Asia Pacific Chief Operating Officer Mike Manley described Zanlunghi as a capable leader with a solid understanding of the Australian market place.
“I’m delighted to be making this announcement, as it further strengthens our APAC team and sees one of our senior executives appointed to lead a key market for us,” Manley said.