Laura Soave has been replaced by Timothy Kuniskis as the head of Fiat brand for North America, Chrysler Group announced recently. Soave left the company to “pursue other interests." Kuniskis’ appointment takes effect immediately. Kuniskis, who is 44 years old, was most recently the marketing director for both the Chrysler and Fiat brands.
Soave was seen at the rollout of the Fiat 500 Abarth but she was not around during the press conference at the Los Angeles auto show, raising doubts about her tenure. Soave, who is 39 years old, had been overseeing Chrysler's efforts to re-enter the Fiat brand in North America after having been absent for 17 years.
She became a part of Chrysler in March 2010 after she had worked in Ford and VW’s marketing divisions. Fiat's subcompact 500, its only North American vehicle, has had sluggish sales due to its slowly developing dealer network in the U.S. In Kuniskis’ new role, he will supervise the Fiat brand in North America, particularly its sales, marketing, dealer network and service divisions.
Chrysler said that he will continue to reintroduce the brand. In a statement, Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler CEO and chairman, said that Kuniskis offers his “broad expertise and leadership in dealer operations and marketing” where he had been working with the team to shape the Fiat brand’s direction.
As the head of Fiat in North America, most of the focus will be on the dealer network where the fresh perspective would come from the operational side as well as the commercial side, where Fiat Brand's “next chapter” will begin.