Today, my dear friends, is a good day for Mopar fans. Former SRT brand chief and certified car guy Ralph Gilles has been just been tasked with overseeing design for all Fiat and Chrysler vehicles henceforth.
A twenty three year veteran of Chrysler Group, Gilles’ most recent post was that of vice president of the FCA North American Design Office. Before assuming that role in design, Gilles headed the SRT and motorsport divisions, and also called the shots for the Dodge brand itself at one point as well.
As part of his new role as the group’s Head of Design, Gilles will also join the FCA Group Executive Council.
And while it is not clear whether it’s a matter of an adjustment of redundancy or just serendipitous timing, Lorenzo Ramaciotti, who joined Fiat as head of design in 2007 after serving the same function at Pininfarina, is now set to retire.
“We extend our sincere appreciation to Lorenzo for his unwavering dedication, service, leadership and many contributions to the organization,” said Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s CEO. Does that sound like a corporate version of “Bye, Felicia!” to anyone else?
Beyond demonstrating his thorough understanding of what makes Chrysler performance brand tick throughout the years, Gilles has proven himself to be a genuine car guy – whether he’s doing a massive burnout at the Carlisle Chrysler Nationals, kissing the new SRT Viper during its unveiling, or hunting down a Cadillac CTS-V on slicks at Grattan Raceway in a six-speed Challenger SRT Hellcat, Gilles’ appointment isn’t just the shuffling of another suit from one office to another. This puts a gearhead in the board room, and that’s rarely a bad thing, especially if you miss the Magnum.