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Imported car association suspends chief over alleged sexual misconduct

10:51 July 29, 2020

SEOUL, July 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's imported vehicle lobby group said Wednesday it has suspended Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) Korea President Pablo Rosso from his position over alleged sexual misconduct.

In an emergency board meeting held on Tuesday, the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA) made the decision to immediately suspend Rosso from his position as chairman.

"We are planning to take additional measures depending on the results of the probe into his alleged sexual harassment and assault (at FCA Korea)," KAIDA said in a statement.

This file photo provided by FCA Korea shows company President and Managing Director Pablo Rosso. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Rosso began his two-year term as chairman of the Korean imported car lobby group in March. He has served as president of FCA Korea since 2013.

The move comes after an online public petition calling for a probe into Rosso's alleged sexual misbehavior was filed at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on July 22.

Any petition that garners support from more than 200,000 signatures within a month mandates an official response from Cheong Wa Dae.

FCA began an investigation into the matter and suspended Rosso from his duties as president and managing director of its Korean operations from Friday, an FCA spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

"FCA does not tolerate any form of harassment, abuse or discrimination of our employees or business partners. It is the company's policy to both immediately and thoroughly investigate any concern brought to our attention," the statement said.

In 2019, FCA sold 10,251 Jeep SUV models in South Korea, jumping 35 percent from 7,590 units a year earlier. It was the first time the Italian and American multinational carmaker sold more than 10,000 vehicles in one year since it entered the Korean market in 1992.

To boost sales in Korea, the company plans to add the Gladiator to its lineup in the third quarter. The current lineup is composed of the flagship Grand Cherokee, the Wrangler, the Cherokee, the Compass and the Renegade.

FCA Korea stopped selling non-SUV passenger vehicles in January 2018 as part of its reorganization of portfolios.

FCA is controlled by Exor N.V., an Italian holding company based in the Netherlands.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
(END)

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