- REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne is stepping down amid a health crisis.
- Marchionne had experienced complication following surgery.
- Marchionne took over Chrysler and merged it with Fiat during the US financial crisis, when Chrysler went bankrupt and was bailed out by the US government.
- Marchionne had planned to retire as CEO of FCA in 2019, but continue as head of Ferrari until 2021.
Fiat Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne is to be replaced permanently at the helm of the global carmaker as well as Ferrari after suffering serious complications from shoulder surgery.
“Fiat Chrysler Automobiles communicates with profound sorrow that during the course of this week unexpected complications arose while Mr. Marchionne was recovering from surgery and that these have worsened significantly in recent hours,” the automaker said in a statement.”As a consequence, Mr. Marchionne will be unable to return to work.”
Marchionne’s duties at FCA will be assumed by Mike Manley, who had been running FCA’s Jeep division. “The success of the Jeep brand under Mike Manley and his global background make him the smart choice to be the new head of FCA,” Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, said in a statement. “His international experience in growing that brand will play a key role as he applies those techniques to all of the Fiat Chrysler divisions.”
According to Reuters, Marchionne had intended to remain as Chairman and CEO of Ferrari until 2021.
But on Saturday the luxury carmaker said it had appointed board member Louis Camilleri as its new CEO, replacing Marchionne.
“In an emergency meeting called after Marchionne’s health worsened, the Ferrari board also named John Elkann as chairman and gave Camilleri powers to oversee the company’s operations,” Reuters reported.
Marchionne, 66, merged Fiat and Chrysler after the 2008-09 financial crisis and the bailout and bankruptcy of the Detroit company.
He later became CEO of Ferrari and staged successful IPOs of both automakers.
Marchionne, a Canadian-Italian, was known for his uniform of slouchy sweaters in an industry where most executives wear tailored suits. He was also famous for brash comments about the car business.
The takeover of Chrysler that he engineered defied the odds. Chrysler was bailed out an declared bankruptcy at the same time as General Motors. But the smaller automaker was though to be lost cause – until Marchionne stepped to take the company off the government’s hands.
The combined firm has returned 230% to investors since its 2014 IPO.
In 2015, Marchionne spun off Ferrari; shares of the Italian supercar maker have returned over 150%.