Sergio Marchionne, recent Fiat Chrysler CEO, dead at 66

Jul 26, 2018, 05:27
Sergio Marchionne, recent Fiat Chrysler CEO, dead at 66

For so long, former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne seemed indestructible, indefatigable.

Complications arising from surgery on his shoulder had led to the Italian-Canadian being replaced as the head of Ferrari and Fiat-Chrysler companies last Saturday.

During his 14 years at the helm, Sergio Marchionne is credited with revamping the Fiat company and bringing it back from the brink of bankruptcy.

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Exor, the investment company that controls Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, released a statement confirming Marchionne's passing.

Five years later, Marchionne became the CEO of the combined Fiat Chrysler company, as US carmakers were struggling to escape the fallout of a crisis in the credit and housing industries and a growing recession.

Despite his other commitments Marchionne had a close involvement with the Formula 1 programme, and was behind the decision to replace team principal Marco Mattiacci with Maurizio Arrivabene just two months later. "On behalf of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, may I extend my honest condolences to his family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues". He was instrumental in the changes that have returned Ferrari to top level success in Formula One in recent years and was a vocal and influential figure in F1 politics. "At this hard time we extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues".

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A company veteran who joined Fiat in 1990, Altavilla took charge of the group's struggling European operations in 2012 and returned them to profit three years later. "Our heartfelt sympathies are with Sergio's family and all at Scuderia Ferrari at this hard time".

However, in February that year, Marchionne sparked controversy when he commented that loans to Chrysler from the United States and Canadian governments had been made at "shyster rates", a comment deemed to carry antisemitic connotations. "He will be remembered as an icon of the industry and will be missed by many who considered him a friend".

While Sergio Marchionne's accomplishments go well beyond just saving the Chrysler Group brands, that is what he is best-known for in the United States. And after the United States company emerged from bankruptcy in June that year, Fiat - and Marchionne - took operational control without having to pay a penny.

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Marchionne had "created a remarkable legacy", said Mary Barra, the GM boss that rejected Marchionne's tie-up advances.

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