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Fiat CEO backtracks on calling Florence 'poor and small'

'Remarks out of context, city is great and important'

12 October, 19:13
Fiat CEO backtracks on calling Florence 'poor and small' (ANSA) - London, October 12 - Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne on Friday backtracked on remarks he made about Florence, calling the central Italian city "small and poor" earlier this week. "They were taken out of context," said Marchionne while visiting the Italian chamber of commerce in London. "In order to adequately describe the importance and greatness of the city it would take me the entire day and not the 15 minutes I have today". Marchionne was caught making his comments Wednesday at a closed-door meeting with students in Brussels, where his comments were aimed at Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi, whom he called "a bad copy of Obama". Renzi had criticized Marchionne for shipping plants overseas while closing factories in Italy, where the auto market has drastically shrunk amid the recession.

Renzi, 37, may become Italy's next premier.

He is currently leading primary polls if Italians turn out in large numbers, according to SWG statistics.

He would replace Premier Mario Monti, whose tenure as head of a technocratic government ends in April.