Chrysler’s new chairman, Robert Kidder, a private-equity investor and former consultant who once worked for Ford Motor Co will lead the automaker currently reorganizing under court protection.

Kidder was previously a consultant to the Ford Motor Company 30 years ago and was also the chief executive of battery maker Duracell.

He will succeed will succeed Robert L. Nardelli, the former Home Depot chief who has been running Chrysler since August 2007.

Chrysler, the smallest of the three Detroit automakers, filed for bankruptcy protection on April 30 and is seeking to sell most of its assets to a new company that will be called the Chrysler Group. Other assets, such as closed factories, will be sold.

Kidder's appointment was the first announced for the nine-member board that will oversee the new company, four of which will be appointed by the U.S. Treasury and Fiat will appoint three board members.

I am confident that Chrysler will emerge from Chapter 11 a lean and powerful competitor, combining its own rich history of innovation with Fiat's technology and expertise to invigorate the American car market and to challenge other car companies around the globe, Kidder said in a statement.