DELLA VALLE V. FIAT: “Inadequate” is how Tod’s chief Diego Della Valle summed up Sergio Marchionne’s tenure as chief executive officer of Fiat Chrysler.

On Friday, Della Valle issued a statement criticizing Marchionne and the car group’s chairman, John Elkann, for putting their own interests ahead of those of their employees and defining them as “the real problem” of Fiat, “and not the workers, Italy or the crisis (which surely exists).”

This story first appeared in the September 17, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Della Valle’s reaction came after Fiat revealed Thursday that its projects about the Italian plants, outlined two-and-a-half years ago, were no longer sustainable, given the industry’s negative market developments. Della Valle defined Marchionne and Elkann as “cosmopolitan furbetti [the Italian word similar to sly]” and said that he is among those Italian entrepreneurs that “did not want in any way to be associated” with these “assuming sirs.”

Luca di Montezemolo, chairman of Ferrari, part of the Fiat Group, said Della Valle’s words were “absolutely unacceptable” — a somewhat unexpected turn, as the two are longtime friends and business partners in ventures such as the new Ntv high-speed trains. Della Valle clashed with Elkann earlier this year over the new governance of RCS Mediagroup, which didn’t allow him to grow his stake in the publishing company.