Sergio Marchionne, Who Saved Fiat and Chrysler Dies

Sergio Marchionne, Who Saved Fiat and Chrysler Dies

Sergio Marchionne, Who Saved Fiat and Chrysler Dies

Sergio Marchionne, the former head of Italo-American carmaking giant Fiat Chrysler has died aged 66, his former company has said.

His health declined suddenly when he suffered complications following shoulder surgery.

Marchionne was succeeded as FCA CEO Saturday by Mike Manley, who previously headed up the automaker's Ram and Jeep brands.

"Unfortunately, what we feared has come to pass. Sergio Marchionne, man and friend, is gone", John Elkann, head of Exor, the holding company for the Agnelli and Elkann families, and largest shareholder in FCA, said in a statement released in the last hour.

In the wider world Marchionne was known for brokering the alliance between Fiat and Chrysler and turning both companies around. When Fiat purchased the Chrysler Group, the company was in the grips of a government-assisted bankruptcy, and we all know how well the U.S. government handles money. Fiat's share price rose from 1.4 euros ($1.64) to as much as 20 euros ($23.4) this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this article. "And there is no doubt that he's going to be sorely missed".

Marchionne has done what many thought impossible, most notably his huge gamble just over a decade ago when he set in motion the marriage between the then-ailing Fiat with bankrupt USA rival Chrysler. CGIL added that there were now "many unknowns" about the future of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

A colourful and charismatic fellow, Marchionne was one of the most respected chiefs in the auto industry, having turned around Fiat's waning automotive fortunes.

CEOS-HEALTH

Marchionne, who described himself as a corporate fixer, was Fiat's fifth CEO in less than two years when he took over. In 2013, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV was born. The bankruptcy of Chrysler gave him the opportunity to create a global vehicle company with brands including Jeep, Ram, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Maserati that he envisioned would grow to 6 million cars a year.

Manley said that he saw his mission as Marchionne's successor to carry out the five-year business plan that FCA laid out in June in Italy, and do so at the helm of an independent FCA.

The company lowered its expectations of profits for this year, but it also met another one of Marchionne's goals, by ridding itself of net industrial debt.

Jetting between the company's offices and design studios in Europe and the United States, Marchionne dominated Fiat Chrysler, eclipsing the executives under him.

Marchionne's "story is a great Italian story", former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had said on Sunday, saying he had come to "symbolise Italian ingenuity" for the world. He also steered the Alfa Romeo/Sauber deal.

The New York Stock Exchange: "We mourn the passing of auto industry legend Sergio Marchionne. We had a deep amount of respect for Sergio and what he's met for the industry".

MI governor Rick Snyder called Marchionne an "outstanding businessman, leader and a friend to all of us in Michigan" in a statement, and added he has fond memories of meeting Marchionne many times, both in MI and overseas.

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