Elkann to replace Montezemolo as Fiat chairman

Fiat chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo Fiat chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo is stepping down after about six years at the helm of the Italian automotive group, the company said yesterday.

John ElkannHe will be replaced by the vice chairman John Elkann, who represents Fiat's controlling Agnelli dynasty.

A formal announcement in this effect is expected today.

The turin-based company also likely to announce its five-year business plan, which is expected to include a spinoff of its automotive operations from the industrial business, which includes heavy equipment manufacturers CNH and Iveco.

However, Montezemolo will continue on the Fiat board and stay as chairman of Ferrari, Fiat's luxury sports brand, a company statement said, adding that Montezemolo was resigning since he had completed the task shareholders had given him when he took on the job.

According to analysts, such a spinoff would give CEO Sergio Marchionne more flexibility to pursue alliances such as the 20-per cent stake in US carmaker Chrysler that Fiat acquired nearly a year ago.