INTERNATIONAL: Levy new comms V-P at troubled DaimlerChrysler

MICHIGAN: DaimlerChrysler has carried out a senior level restructure in the wake of mounting financial losses .

The company has replaced communications vice-president Tony Cervone with Ken Levy. Levy has 20 years experience of automotive PR, and has served for the last 18 months as an independent international communications and PR consultant in New York and Zurich.

Cervone had been in the job for less than three months. He originally joined the company in 1985, but left 13 years later, when Chrysler merged with Daimler-Benz, to join General Motors, alongside former comms vice-president Steve Harris.

In September 2000, Chrysler president and CEO Jim Holden lured Cervone back as vice-president, but in November, the German management ousted Holden. Cervone's forced resignation came the day after.

The Detroit media agreed that Cervone's short tenure was no reflection on his abilities. 'The new Chrysler Group CEO (Dieter Zetsche) simply wanted his own PR chief, especially one with European experience,' said an observer.

Holden's departure led to media speculation over job cuts and plant closures.

Chrysler lost pounds 348m in the third quarter this year and analysts believe the company will continue to see losses in the fourth quarter and in 2001.

It is expected new CEO Zetsche's restructuring plan will cost more than pounds 1.4bn.

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