ROME (AP) _ Fiat chairman Cesare Romiti will step aside in June to be replaced by longtime General Electric executive Paolo Fresco, according to a spokesman for the U.S. company.

The official announcement of the appointment of Fresco, 64, a board member since June 1996, was expected to be made in a letter to shareholders released at the end of January, GE spokesman Jay Pomeroy said Thursday.

Romiti, who was indicted recently on charges he knew about kickbacks Fiat allegedly paid to win Rome subway contracts, said he would resign when he turns 75 in June, an arrangement that had been widely expected.

Fiat is Italy's largest private company. Its car division produces Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lancia models, but other divisions produce train cars, trucks and aircraft engines.