In 2010, he joined the board of directors of Exor S.p.A. Mr. Marchionne is also a Board Member of Philip Morris International Inc. and a member of the General Council of Confindustria (the main organization representing Italian manufacturing and services companies), of Assonime (the association of Italian joint stock companies), and of ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association). He is a permanent member of the Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli. He is also a Board Member of the Peterson Institute for International Economics and Chairman of the Italian Branch of the Council of the United States in Italy. He has previously served as the non-executive Vice Chairman and Senior Independent Director of UBS.

Mr. Marchionne holds a BA in Philosophy and Economics from the University of Toronto, and an LLB degree from Osgoode Law School, York University, Toronto. He also has an MBA and B.Com   from the University of Windsor, in Canada. Additionally, Mr. Marchionne holds many honorary degrees from leading universities around the world. Mr. Marchionne has also been awarded the Italian honour of the Cavaliere del Lavoro.

ISO Focus+ : What is the strategic value of International Standards to big industrial groups like Fiat and Chrysler that operate in so many countries with an international workforce of more than 190 000 people?

Sergio Marchionne: We do need standards; the world needs standards. Standards help an enterprise manage business-critical issues, such as quality, environmental performance and safety.

A particular region of the world might have different regulatory standards than another one, but the use of International Standards forces us to judge our operations against the best in the world and steers us toward the use of best practices to accomplish business requirements.

ISO Focus+ : You are known for turning around both Fiat and Chrysler and making them profitable companies and leading global players in the automotive industry. What is the secret of your success, and what part did International Standards play in helping you achieve this?

Sergio Marchionne : One thing I have learned as a CEO is that culture is everything. Fiat and Chrysler have adopted a culture that involves a commitment to meritocracy and excellence, the search for and cherishing of change, and the clear acknowledgment that we are accountable for our choices. International Standards are perfectly consistent, and reinforce these values. Aligning standards is one of the most important efforts Fiat and Chrysler are making in order to bring our organizations together.

ISO Focus+ : Can you describe the use made by FIAT of ISO’s management system standards – ISO 9001:2008, ISO/TS 16949:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 – and what value they have added ? Have you considered the implementation of other management system standards, such as ISO 50001 for energy management?

Sergio Marchionne : By embracing International Standards, we are able to incorporate third-party evaluation by unbiased auditors who look at different operations around the world.

This provides us with important information that helps inform our own decision-making. The energy management systems of five group plants are already ISO 50001-certified and by 2014, all of our principal plants, which represent 92 % of the energy consumed by Fiat-Chrysler, will be ISO 50001-certified.

We have also set specific targets for each sector to reduce the energy consumed (per unit value up to 30 % compared with 2009 levels) and carbon dioxide emissions (per unit value up to 35 % compared with 2009 amounts) by 2014. All these efforts are part of our ongoing commitment to a sustainable management of our industrial processes.

ISO Focus+ : Hundreds of experts in the automotive industry participate in the development of standards. What is the added value of this involvement for the industry in general, and for Fiat, in particular?

Sergio Marchionne : By helping develop standards, you ensure they are fair and that the bar is set high. You do not want to have an “ easy ” standard that anyone can reach. Standards are beneficial because they help an organization focus on best practices. Those just developing programmes can benefit by using standards to help bring themselves up to the level of the world’s best.

ISO Focus+ : In a company like FIAT which has a strong propensity toward technological innovation for its products and production processes, how do International Standards allow the industry to move forward? What new standards are needed to encourage innovation further?

Sergio Marchionne : The opportunities for innovation and standards need to go hand in hand. It is the only way to advance innovation and address seriously the great challenges of pollution, security and energy savings. There are many examples of available technologies that have not found their way to the market because it was missing an agreement as to what standard should be used. The E-Call, a system that sends an emergency call and location of a vehicle if it is involved in a severe accident, is just an example in Europe. Another one involves rules about the installation of compressed natural gas (CNG) pumps that, until they were removed two years ago, limited the spread of environmentally friendly CNG-powered vehicles.

ISO Focus+ : When you’re a global brand like FIAT, you no doubt need to pay close attention to your “corporate citizenship”. What’s your perspective on the contribution of International Standards toward helping the international community to tackle global challenges such as climate change, sustainable development and social responsibility?

Sergio Marchionne : For a business to be respected, it needs to respect the environment and be socially responsible. Standards that focus on these important challenges provide organizations with a framework against which their level of engagement in socially responsible behaviors can be measured.

In addition, standards in areas such as energy management combine the benefits of a business management tool linking energy management and business processes with the ability to meet growing global customer requirements for reduced greenhouse gas emissions and achieve tangible economic benefits through energy savings.

ISO Focus+ : As Chairman of SGS, one of the world’s leading certification bodies, how do you see the future of certification to ISO management system standards?

Sergio Marchionne : Every organization is under growing pressure to create value for their customers, stakeholders and employees. This pressure continuously calls for better capabilities to innovate, manage risk, improve performance, comply with the regulatory environment, develop talents, enhance customer and supplier relationships and improve sustainability. Reliable management system standards are needed to help meet these diverse challenges and achieve tangible business benefits.

Sergio Marchionne
Sergio Marchionne
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Chrysler Group LLC
and Chief Operating Officer at NAFTA, CEO of Fiat S.p.A., and Chairman of Fiat Industrial S.p.A, including CNH, Iveco and FPT Industrial