In a surprise move, Robert A. Lutz, one of Ford's highest-ranking executives and once an heir-apparent to the chairmanship of the No. 2 auto maker, jumped to cross-town rival Chrysler on Tuesday to work for Lee A. Iacocca.
Lutz's decision to join Chrysler marks another coup for Iacocca. The Chrysler chairman has stolen dozens of Ford executives away from his former employer since being fired as Ford president by Henry Ford II in 1978. Today, virtually every top executive at Chrysler is a veteran of Ford.
Lutz, apparently the victim of bureaucratic infighting at Ford, will become an executive vice president of Chrysler Motors, Chrysler's car subsidiary, in charge of truck, component and international operations. He will report to Chrysler Motors Chairman Gerald Greenwald, another ex-Ford official who now runs Chrysler's automotive operations.
"Bob Lutz is a proven executive," Iacocca said in a statement. "He is an entrepreneur with a strong international background and a wealth of truck product and marketing experience."