Alfa Romeo CEO’s ‘passion for brand’ could be key to reviving its fortunes

His move from France to Italy was not driven by career ambitions. “When you are head of the Peugeot brand, which brings in billions of euros per year, you don’t go to Alfa for career reasons. You do it for personal reasons, you’re driven by passion, and by family reasons,” he said.

The family reasons are ancestral ties with Italy. His grandfather moved from the small coastal town of Gaeta in central Italy to France in 1904.

And his family has longtime bonds to Alfa. “When I was born, my father was driving a blue Giulia 1300, then he switched to a larger Alfetta 2000. My wife’s first car was an Alfasud,” Imparato said.

Over the past five years Alfa has been led by American executives working from Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. headquarters in suburban Detroit — first Reid Bigland, then Tim Kuniskis. These executives also had other key roles in FCA.

Imparato said it’s important that the brand is managed from Italy. He has reorganized the brand’s global leadership and said his new executive team is “nearly 100 percent Italian.”

Imparato is also bringing Stellantis CEO Tavares’ thrifty mantra to Alfa. The brand’s new global head office inside the former Fiat Centro Stile (Styling Center) in Turin isn’t much bigger than a tennis court.

“We are frugal, and we are careful with every euro we spend,” Imparato said.

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