Published: Wed, July 25, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Former Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne dies aged 66

Former Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne dies aged 66

Long-time Fiat Chrysler, Ferrari and Maserati CEO Sergio Marchionne has died aged 66 due to complications from shoulder surgery.

Its chief executive John Elkann said: "Unfortunately, what we feared has come to pass. Sergio Marchionne, man and friend, is gone".

Marchionne had been at Fiat for over a decade and added the title of Ferrari chairman in 2014, replacing Luca di Montezemolo.

Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi: "Our entire team at Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi were saddened to learn of the death of Sergio Marchionne". Marchionne also revealed earlier this year a new five-year plan for the automaker that calls for several new models and a major push into self-driving and electrification technologies.

Marchionne had planned to leave Fiat in 2019, but with his health deteriorating, on July 21 he was replaced as CEO of Fiat Chrysler by Mike Manley, head of the Jeep and Ram brands.

Marchionne was a visionary at a time when the auto industry was sorely in need of one.

Marchionne out of FCA and Ferrari due to ailing health
The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that Marchionne had been absent from day-to-day activities at FCA for weeks. That's why Marchionne had been looking for a potential buyer for Fiat Chrysler for most of the last ten years.

Rebecca Lindland, executive analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said Manley is a "worthy replacement at FCA, but it's a huge job to not only fill Sergio's shoes, but to run many brands that are facing capricious fortunes in a variety of markets", according to The Washington Post.

As Fiat Chrysler heads into what most industry executives and analysts predict will be a hard 2019, the automaker's Italian brands have lost a powerful champion with Marchionne's departure.

In his roles with both Fiat Chrysler and Ferrari, he was never far from controversy, and never shirked from the fight that might follow.

Other successful business ventures included the spinoff of the heavy industrial vehicle and truck maker CNH and the Ferrari supercar maker.

Marchionne was born on June 17, 1952, in Chieti, a hilltop town near the Adriatic sea in central Italy. He then joined Swiss chemical and pharmaceutical company Alusuisse Lonza rising to the position of CEO. Our thoughts are with Manuela, and his sons Alessio and Tyler.

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