Sergio Marchionne stepping down as CEO of Fiat Chrysler

Marco Green
July 22, 2018

Sergio Marchionne was replaced as chief executive of Fiat Chrysler (FCA) on Saturday by the head of the firm's Jeep division, Mike Manley, after the health of the carmaker's long-time boss deteriorated sharply following surgery. As CEO, Marchionne has led FCA through multiple plans for profitability, which the automaker has largely delivered on, and spun off Ferrari as a successful standalone business unit.

Marchionne, an Italian-Canadian, joined Fiat in 2004 and led the Turin-based company's merger with bankrupt US carmaker Chrysler as well as the spin-off of luxury sports auto maker Ferrari.

His most likely successor at Ferrari is Louis Carey Camilleri, former chairman of Philip Morris International and Ferrari board member, while John Elkann, a controlling shareholder at Ferrari and FCA, will likely be the new chairman, according to Automotive News Europe.

Marchionne had experienced complication following surgery.

The company said in a statement that "unexpected complications arose while Mr. Marchionne was recovering from surgery and that these have worsened significantly in recent hours".

The CEO of FCA since 2004, Marchionne has long said he anticipated stepping down in 2019.

Manley was considered a top candidate to replace Marchionne next year. Manley, 54, had been heading the Jeep brand since June 2009 and the Ram brand from October 2015. "I am profoundly saddened to learn of Sergio's state of health. It was a situation that was unthinkable until a few hours ago, and one that leaves us all with a sense of injustice". "My first thoughts go to Sergio and his family", says Elkann. Marchionne managed to take two ailing companies and return them to profitability.

"The Board of Directors of FCA, meeting today, firstly expressed its closeness to Sergio Marchionne and his family and underlined the extraordinary contribution, both human and professional, that he has made to the company in these years".

Elkann said because of the succession plans in place, there will be a smooth transition.

Marchionne has overseen numerous changes that have returned Ferrari to success in recent years and was heavily involved in decisions on driver line-up and the team's overall direction.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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