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Marchionne Earns Title 'Michiganian Of The Year'

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On: Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 11:17AM | By: Chris Salamone

Marchionne Earns Title 'Michiganian Of The Year'

Companies use buzzwords like ‘dynamic’ and ‘magnanimous’ to define popular CEOs. But the tide of corporate and consumer perception can swiftly turn on these elevated citizens, for CEOs are – in many cases – public figures. One mistake and a seasoned CEO can go from hero to zero in a matter of minutes.

After Chrysler’s incredible bounce back in 2011 and staggering first quarter results in 2012, we can safely say that Sergio Marchionne has earned his keep as well as a long list of positive descriptors. And financial results aside, Marchionne has contributed to the reputation and enlivened spirit of Detroit in a big way.

So much so that The Detroit News has named the Chrysler Group LLC Chairman and CEO ‘Michiganian of the Year’ for 2012.

Along with 11 other honorees, the newspaper had a lot of praise for Marchionne: “From the high-profile Super Bowl ads featuring Eminem and Clint Eastwood, to Marchionne’s decision to keep open Chrysler’s Jefferson North factory and reopen its Conner Avenue plant, to the creation of a new satellite headquarters in the historic Dime Building – now renamed Chrysler House – Marchionne’s commitment is undeniable.”

The company’s newly-minted satellite headquarters marks the first time Chrysler has had a corporate presence in downtown Detroit.

Fittingly, Marchionne accepted the award with the style and character of a natural leader: “The comeback we’re experiencing at Chrysler Group is a testament to all of the men and women of Chrysler, and of this region, who found within themselves the courage, the character and willpower to start anew and to do what so many said could not be done,” the CEO stated Thursday.

And that seems to be his shtick. Marchionne has relied on and bolstered the resilience, hard work, and determination of Detroit itself – finding the stuff Chrysler needs to succeed in the company’s heartland.

After 26 consecutive months of sales increases and a reported $473 million in profit for the first quarter of 2012, Marchionne’s formula for success clearly has merit. Oh, and by the way, $473 million is roughly four times more profit than the company received in the first quarter of 2011.

Even though many of us ‘Mericans no longer drive cars sold by the Big Three, CEOs like Marchionne instill a sense of pride and purpose in the Made in America movement. And while Marchionne’s title only extends to Michigan, this particular CEO’s influence extends much further. Don’t be surprised when Chrysler products start popping up all over the block.

For the first time in a while, enthusiasm – instead of dread – for the US automotive industry is palpable.

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