The latest twist in the crisis to turn round Fiat's debt-ridden carmaking division came as the Agnelli family, who own 34 per cent of Fiat shares, tried to push through Bondi's appointment – which would effectively have put the cash-rich Mediobanco in charge of strategy. The move would also have imperilled the agreed restructuring plan.
The Italian Government is keen to keep Fiat in Italian hands – and is thought to be closely supporting the Mediobanco push for control as a way of blocking the possible sale of the ailing carmaker to GM in 2004.
The creditor banks' victory over the Agnellis – if it pans out today – could mean that Fiat chairman Paulo Fresco will stay on. Sources say Fresco intends to run Fiat until April.