MILAN — Benetton Group SpA put a former Fiat executive in the driver’s seat Monday after posting its first-ever full-year loss.

Silvano Cassano, president of Fiat’s consumer services unit since last year, will become chief executive officer of Benetton on May 12, following the firm’s annual meeting. He will succeed Luigi De Puppi, who was expected to leave after completing the firm’s expensive exit from the sporting goods business, which weighed heavily on 2002 results.

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