Olivier Francois is a renaissance man in a company of judicious executives.
The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV global chief marketing officer and head of the automaker's Fiat brand is as comfortable walking a VIP carpet with John Varvatos and Michael Bolton as he is discussing marketing strategies with Hollywood executives or cars with enthusiasts.
"I'm not a marketing guy at all," said Francois, who burst into the spotlight in 2011 by convincing Detroit rapper Eminem to star in a two-minute Super Bowl ad for the Chrysler 200 — a spot that received international recognition. "I'm just a car salesman who tried to learn how to make cars ... and why to make a car. So I learned marketing."
The 53-year-old Frenchman is self-effacing, yet confident; stylish, in a European kind of way. People who have worked with him say those characteristics have helped Francois change the conversation about the automaker's North American-based operations (formerly Chrysler Group LLC), and cause a revolution within U.S. advertising with memorable ads and unique collaborations.