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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV on Wednesday announced Ralph Gilles will lead the company's global design operations, effective immediately.

Gilles, most recently senior vice president of the company's North American design office, replaces Lorenzo Ramaciotti, who is retiring from the company. Ramaciotti will continue to lend expertise as a special adviser to Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

"We extend our sincere appreciation to Lorenzo for his unwavering dedication, service, leadership and many contributions to the organization," Marchionne said in a statement.

Gilles joined then-Chrysler in 1992. He has held several leadership roles in addition to his positions in design, including leading the company's Motorsports, SRT and Dodge brands.

A company spokesperson said Gilles will retain his responsibilities of leading the company's North American operations in his new role.

Gilles, a charismatic alumnus of Detroit's College for Creative Studies, also was named a member of the Fiat Chrysler Group Executive Council (GEC) — the highest management-level decision making body within the world's seventh-largest automaker.

Separately, FCA on Wednesday announced that Mauro Fenzi was appointed chief operating officer systems and CEO of Comau, a robotics subsidiary of the automaker.

Fenzi joined Comau in 2001 and has held a variety of positions with increasing responsibility, most recently Comau systems COO and head of NAFTA region.

Fenzi replaces Riccardo Tarantini who will remain as COO castings.

mwayland@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2504

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