FIAT AUTO'S choice of Juan Jose Diaz Ruiz as its new sales and marketing boss was a great one. Inspired even.
Diaz Ruiz's career has been among the most remarkable in the European auto industry in the last 15 years as he built up dealer networks and sales volumes at Seat, Audi and Toyota.
Everywhere he goes Diaz Ruiz leaves a conspicuous trail of success. He led the Audi brand renaissance in the mid-1990s, pushed Toyota sales ahead of Nissan in Europe for the first time last year, and has relaunched Lexus in Europe.
As Seat's top sales executive through much of the 1980s - the post-Fiat/pre-Volkswagen days - Diaz Ruiz was partly responsible for the fact that the Spanish brand still exists today.
He was a key member of the team that developed the original Seat Ibiza and then made it a success on the market - effectively saving the company from ruin.
Spanish-born Diaz Ruiz displays the kind of passion that former General Motors and Volkswagen purchasing czar Ignacio Lopez brought to his job - without Lopez's dark side.
He is the right executive to help Fiat rebuild its market share and shine up its image. The problem is how Toyota will replace Diaz Ruiz. His hiring two years ago was a breakthrough for Japanese carmakers in Europe - along with Nissan's transfer of US sales and marketing executive Earl Hesterberg from America to Europe a year earlier.
They were the first signs that Japanese companies were getting truly serious about selling cars in Europe. Raiding top executives from European automakers was the strategy that the Japanese successfully implemented in America 20 years ago.
Diaz Ruiz is gone, but Toyota will need someone else like him - a European executive with a record of success in the heart of the market.
With Toyota's sales up 24 percent in Europe in the first half of the year, it is no time to ease off the throttle.