Obama auto plan may force out Chrysler CEO

Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli will leave as head of that company should the deal being pushed by the Obama administration be approved.

Should Italian automaker Fiat enter a U.S. government-backed partnership with Chrysler, Nardelli said Fiat and the government would choose a new corporate chief and board of directors.

Nardelli's possible ouster would come less than a month after the Obama administration asked for the resignation of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner, and the second time the government has worked to replace the CEO of a firm receiving governmental assistance.

"A board of directors for Chrysler will be appointed by the U.S. government and Fiat," Nardelli wrote to Chrysler employees Friday. "The board will have the responsibility to appoint a chairman. The board also will select a CEO with Fiat's concurrence."

The administration has actively sought to push the Chrysler-Fiat deal after rejecting the company's restructuring plans late last month. Obama, as well as his top advisers on auto issues, have cited the partnership, backed by federal bridge loans, as their desired outcome.

Nardelli encouraged employees to stay focused on their work while the CEO faces the specter of his eventual ouster.

"I ask you to stay focused on the job at hand, remain positive about our future and keep supporting one another in everything you do," he wrote.