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The surgeon
The surgeon
Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli in front of a 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT-8.
A Jack Welch protege at General Electric who flamed out at Home Depot, Bob Nardelli is no car guy. He can't fine-tune new models by steering a prototype around a test track or discuss the virtues of cash rebates vs. cut-rate financing. He is learning about the complexities of investing $1 billion in a product that will take five years to reach the market.

Nardelli is a numbers guy, a skilled manager of large organizations who knows how to get inside them and tune them up, a wizard at operations.

Nardelli's critics complain that he doesn't have the sixth sense required for success in the complex auto business. One veteran industry executive, who does business with Chrysler and doesn't want to be identified, says, "Every new person who enters the U.S. auto business thinks he is the first smart guy and it must be pretty simple. I'll bet they have never seen cash fly out the door so quickly in any of their other businesses."

Of course, as Nardelli is too diplomatic to say in public, it was car guys who got Chrysler into this mess. And yes, he thinks he is the man to get the carmaker out of it.

NEXT: The prescription

Last updated August 07 2008: 7:40 AM ET
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