Library / Biographies | Industries

Date of review: October 2019
Book author: Jennifer Clark
Вook published: 2011

Mondo Agnelli: Fiat, Chrysler, and the Power of a Dynasty by Jennifer Clark (2011)

A book has a detailed review of Fiat and some background on the family behind it (including Exor – the holding company). It is helpful but not sufficient to understand the drivers of the auto industry.
The book also serves as a good example of the importance of a strong leader for the success of the company and shareholder returns as recent CEO of Fiat, Sergio Marchione, understandably receives quite a lot of attention from the author.

The book helps to understand how family businesses take longer-term views focusing on the strategy often willing to take short-term pain. For example, Marchionne decided to reduce rebates to Chrysler dealers in the US, which led to a short-term negative drop in sales, but helped to restore margins in the long term.

One of Marchionne's most important steps was to change the corporate culture at Fiat and force different teams to collaborate and talk rather than fight for a small budget of their own.

There is a useful discussion on key factors for staying competitive in the auto industry – scale seems the most important but also having few platforms / models allows to simplify processes and save costs on R&D, suppliers, marketing.

There is also an idea that Agnelli has had an idea to diversify its family business away from the car industry and become less dependent on sector cycles.

The book has a good profile of the new CEO of Exor – John Elkann.

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