Robert Kidder to replace Bob Nardelli as Chrysler chairman

The alliance between Chrysler and Italy's Fiat is nowhere near complete, but that didn't stop the nation's third-largest automaker Wednesday from naming a veteran executive with no direct automotive experience as its new chairman.

Robert Kidder, former CEO of Borden Chemical and of Duracell, will succeed Robert Nardelli as Chrysler's chairman when the new corporation takes shape in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Chrysler filed for reorganization last month.

Kidder was not named CEO, too. Chrysler has yet to name its new CEO, although President Jim Press has not yet indicated whether he will leave the automaker. His co-president, Tom LaSorda, is already retired. Nardelli has said he will stay for a few weeks or months to sew up issues of the existing Chrysler, then hand off to Kidder.

"Bob Kidder will lead the new company through the transformation," Nardelli said in a statement. "Bob will provide the leadership and strategic counsel that will help to create a strong global competitor moving forward."

Since 2006, Kidder has served as CEO of 3Stone Advisors, a private investment firm involved with clean technology companies. He worked at Borden as CEO, and later chairman, from 1994 until 2001, when he retired in 2003. He was named CEO of Duracell in 1984.

Though he has no direct automotive experience, Kidder worked closely with one automaker, which Automotive News identified as Ford, when he was employed as a consultant early in his career for McKinsey, Chrysler said. His pay was not disclosed.

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