Just days after the death of Fiat's chairman raised questions on the direction of the company, Fiat named a chief executive on Tuesday, reaffirmed its commitment to its money-losing car unit and said that it would accelerate a restructuring plan that aims for a return to profit in 2006. \nThe board of Fiat named Sergio Marchionne, until Tuesday morning the chief executive of the Swiss quality and testing services company SGS, to be chief executive. \nMarchionne, 52, has been a member of the Fiat board since May last year and during the previous shuffle for a chief executive early last year was mentioned as a possible candidate. \nHis appointment followed the death on Thursday of Umberto Agnelli, who had been chairman of Fiat for slightly more than a year. \nMarchionne is the fifth chief executive of Fiat in the last two years and faces the task of turning around a company that has lost 6 billion euros (US$7.3 billion) in the past two years. \nHe takes control of Fiat after the abrupt departure of Giuseppe Morchio, who quit unexpectedly on Sunday. \nrestructuring plan \nMorchio and Agnelli put together a four-year restructuring plan a year ago that included 3.1 billion euros (US$3.8 billion) in cost cuts and 12,300 layoffs, most of them now carried out. \n"The restructuring plan was approved last year by the board of directors and I will take that plan forward," Marchionne said at a news conference here, where Fiat is based. "I'm sure that Fiat will make it through this crisis and it will again become what it once was." \nFifteen years ago, Fiat was the leading carmaker in Europe, but it has since fallen to seventh place. In the mid-1980s when the Italian market was protected by high tariffs, Fiat had a 60 percent share. That has declined to less than a third. \n"There is a huge amount of potential in the management that Fiat already has, we just need to go tap it," Marchionne said. "I have done that before. In my 30 months at SGS, I took a lethargic company and turned it into a leader in its field." \nMorchio replaced 12 of Fiat's 19 top managers in the year after announcing his restructuring plan, and also managed to cut the company's losses by half. \nMarchionne declined to give further details of his plans for Fiat, noting that he had held the post for less than a hour. \nThe new chief's talent as a turnaround expert was known to the Agnelli family even before he joined Fiat's board last year; SGS is partly owned by the family through the same holding company that controls its 30 percent stake in Fiat. \nOne of the first issues Marchionne will have to tackle is a pact with General Motors that gives Fiat the right to sell its 90 percent stake in Fiat Auto to GM beginning next year. The Agnellis have said that they have no intention of selling Fiat Auto, but are only willing to cancel the pact for a fee. GM maintains the pact is already dead because Fiat breached its terms.
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
CASH BOOST: Foreign spouses with residency permits are also eligible for the coupons, which can be bought at post offices or linked to digital payment options Stimulus coupons for Taiwanese and foreign spouses with residency permits can be ordered starting on July 1 and can be used from July 15 to Dec. 31, the Executive Yuan said yesterday. Aimed at boosting domestic spending, the coupons worth NT$3,000 (US$100.04) are to cost NT$1,000. “For our consumers, this is a very good deal as they get three times as much value for their money,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a news conference in Taipei. While the coupons are to have a wide range of uses, including at department stores, restaurants, book stores, night markets, beauty and hair salons, hotels, and to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
RELATIONSHIP ‘TERMINATED’: US Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the president’s action was ‘an act of extraordinary senselessness,’ a tone Chinese media echoed US President Donald Trump on Friday announced that Washington would withdraw funding from the WHO, end Hong Kong’s special trade status and suspend visas of Chinese graduate students suspected of conducting research on behalf of their government. Trump said in a White House announcement that Chinese officials “ignored” their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressured the organization to mislead the public about the outbreak. “We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act,” he said. “Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be