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The Australian arm of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has announced the appointment of a new President and CEO, Steve Zanlunghi.

New York-born Zanlunghi, an American/Australian dual-citizen with a life-long history here, replaces native Detroiter Pat Dougherty, who came to the role in late 2014 and now moves to lead the company’s parts and service operations for the wider Asia-Pacific region.

Zanlunghi (above) comes to the local role after most recently leading FCA’s UK and Irish operations. Last year, Zanlunghi was also made simultaneous head of the Jeep brand for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where he developed strategies for product, sales, marketing and network development.

Mike Manley, FCA Asia Pacific chief operating officer, said that Zanlunghi’s appointment to Australia will bolster the company’s plans for this “key market”.

PatrickDougherty

Above: Chrysler veteran, Pat Dougherty

“I’m delighted to be making this announcement, as it further strengthens our APAC team and sees one of our senior executives appointed to lead a key market for us,” Manley said.

“Steve is not only a capable leader, but he also has a good understanding of the Australian market place.”

Dougherty’s move to the company’s Shanghai offices can be considered a promotion, having focused his Australian stint on a strategy of improving customer care. Giving Dougherty control of that folio for the entire Asia-Pacific region suggests the company’s global management is happy with his work here.

The halving of Jeep (down from 14,453 to 7024 year-to-date) and Chrysler (down from 523 to 264) sales could also suggest FCA is keen to bring new vision to the Australian market, although the company has previously pointed to currency pressure to explain the slump.

Zanlunghi’s appointment to Australia is effective from August 1.

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