Though Sergio Marchionne joined Jim Press at the top of the Chrysler executive food chain when Fiat made its investment in the company, the Deputy CEO position was thought to be a solid one until today. Reports claiming that Press will be leaving the company by the end of the year are spreading, and the company isn't denying it.

It does stand to reason that Press would like to move on with his career now that the transition from bankruptcy to Fiat-based management is effectively complete. Press, formerly vice-chairman and president at Chrysler, was the only top-tier Chrysler executive to survive that transition, and serving as advisor to Marchionne is a job that can only go so far.

During his time at Chrysler, Press fought hard, against the prevailing weight of the market and economy, to help change perceptions about Chrysler's brands, including Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler itself.Officials at Chrysler won't confirm or deny the reports of Press's impending departure, but the fact that they aren't being vehemently denied tends to speak for itself.

Where Press might head next - either within the automotive industry or without - isn't yet clear. His entire career has been in the automotive sector, however, with his stint as Chrysler's co-chief preceded by a 37-year run at Toyota.

The 62-year-old Press has not commented on the matter yet either.

[The Wall Street Journal]