Special Coverage

Management Briefing Seminars

RAVERSE CITY, MI – Chrysler LLC has received “stacks of resumes” since it became a private company a year ago, Nancy Rae, executive vice president of communications and human resources, says following her talk at the Management Briefing Seminars here.

During a questions-and-answers session, Rae says the influx of resumes is “running at the highest level in the past five years.

“We’re getting people from other industries, too – people who want to be part of a great game-change,” she says.

Chrysler’s independence as a private concern has been a major motivator, she adds.

Rae participated in a panel focusing on future leadership in the auto industry. Asked what attributes future leaders need, she lists the ability to anticipate trends “and not just get the job done, but come up with solutions and alternatives and take action.”

During her talk, Rae says Chrysler is looking at “four key strengths” in evaluating future leaders: motivation, leadership skills, functional experience and business acumen. “Today we’re most interested in motivation – you have to be motivated yourself if you’re going to motivate, lead and inspire others.”

Since control was acquired by private-equity firm Cerberus Holdings LLP in August 2007, “Chrysler has become a dynamic, fast-paced culture (with) an owner-operator mindset,” Rae says.

Under Chairman Bob Nardelli, who came aboard with the Cerberus investment, Chrysler has adopted a “customer-driven strategy” that guides its human resources and leadership development activities, she says.

“Bob has spent over 100 hours in HR reviews” with each of Chrysler’s top 300 leaders to identify “emerging talent” in the early stages, Rae says.

These folks came up with 100 action items ranging from “fireside chats with small groups of employees to major enhancements of our development program for senior leaders” called the Chrysler Executive Leadership Series.

This series includes meeting with academic and industry leaders outside Chrysler and sessions on business fundamentals, strategic thinking, accountability and more, culminating by year’s end with creation of the company’s business plan for the following year.

Despite recent rough times in the U.S. auto industry, Chrysler still manages to attract and keep talent, Rae says. Annual attrition runs at 4.2%, which she says is below most industries.

Moreover, “more than 40% of our (salaried) employees hold advanced degrees and 93% have earned undergraduate degrees,” Rae points out.