Fiat Chrysler CFO Palmer to join board with executive role

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MILAN — Richard Palmer, CFO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, will join the automaker’s board of directors.

FCA’s shareholders will be asked to approve Palmer’s appointment at the company’s annual meeting in Amsterdam on April 12. The board is responsible for the management and strategic direction of the automaker.

After the annual meeting the board will have three executive members: Chairman John Elkann, CEO Mike Manley and Palmer, along with nine nonexecutive members.

The meeting’s agenda, published in advance by FCA, said the appointment recognizes Palmer’s “extensive knowledge of the company and its business and his managerial skills.”

It is not yet clear which executive powers will Palmer will gain with the board role.

Palmer, 52, was appointed CFO of Fiat S.p.A. and a member of its group executive council in 2011, and he took the same role after the merger with Chrysler that created FCA. In his role he is responsible for all financial activities of the group, including control, treasury and tax.

Palmer helped former CEO, the late Sergio Marchionne, in his dealings with banks and financial analysts, and has deep relations with the financial community. He also helped reduce FCA’s debt and worked alongside Marchionne on deals such as the merger of Fiat and Chrysler, the spinoff of Ferrari and the yet-to-be-completed sale of Magneti Marelli to KKR’s Calsonic Kansei.

Palmer joined the Fiat Group in 2003 as the CFO of automation subsidiary Comau. He is one of the few top managers who joined the group before Marchionne became CEO and remained with the company, gaining an expanded role.

He took the key role of CFO of FCA US (formerly Chrysler Group) just after the acquisition of Chrysler by Fiat in 2009.

Before joining Fiat, Palmer was finance manager for several business units at General Electric Oil & Gas. He spent the first years of his career in audit with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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