Back in 2005, Motor Trend published its first-ever ‘Power List’, which in the publication’s words was created in order to “recognize the most influential people in the automotive industry.” This year’s list consists of 50 automotive industry professionals ranging from designers to CEOs and everything inbetween – and six of them are Fiat Chrysler employees.
Highest on Motor Trend’s list is Russ Ruedisueli, who is the head of engineering over at Fiat Chrysler’s SRT performance and motorsports brand. Ruedisueli was the mastermind behind the wildly successful 707 horsepower Charger and Challenger Hellcat models, which alone was enough to land him on the list.
Second highest is Ralph Gilles, who is the head of design at SRT. Gilles green lights every vehicle to emerge from FCA’s headquarters with an SRT badge, and it’s hard not to recognize his achievements when taking into consideration products like the aforementioned Hellcat twins, the Grand Cherokee SRT and the new Viper ACR.
Third we have Tim Kuniskis, who is the head of Fiat Chrysler’s passenger car brands. He’s helped turn Dodge into Fiat Chrysler’s mainstream brand in the U.S. He recently took on a bigger role after being put in charge of Chrysler and Fiat in addition to Dodge and will become even more influential over the next year as he orchestrates the launch of the new Chrysler Town & Country and Fiat 124 Spider, among others.
Fourth is the head of the ever-important Jeep and Ram brands Mike Manley. Jeep is FCA’s most successful brand while Ram is its second most successful, so it’s easy to see his influence on the industry. He’s also in charge of development of all FCA vehicles in the Asia Pacific region.
It’d be silly for Motor Trend not to include Fiat Chrysler’s eccentric head of marketing on the power list, Olivier Francois. Motor Trend says he “stretches the edges of marketing,” and has been responsible for some of the automaker’s more memorable ad campaigns, including but not limited to the Hunger Games tie-in ads. He’s the fifth-ranked FCA employee on the list.
Finally is Fiat Chrysler chairman Sergio Marchionne. The Italian-Canadian is one of the more eccentric CEOs in the automotive industry and displayed his impressive foresight when he openly talked about a merger with automotive giant General Motors. He’s tasked with improving the struggling Chrysler brand and reinvigorating Alfa Romeo in the U.S. – an influential role no doubt.