Published: Thu, July 26, 2018
Business | By Pearl Harrison

Ex Fiat Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne has died aged 66

Ex Fiat Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne has died aged 66

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.

Sergio Marchionne, who has died aged 66, having suffered complications after an operation, was renowned in the motor industry for the way he engineered dramatic turnarounds in the fortunes of Fiat and subsequently the Fiat Chrysler group.

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

The family's heir and company chairman Elkann, hired Marchionne at a time when Fiat had faced several years of significant losses.

The company suddenly replaced Marchionne at the helm of the company over the weekend as news of his illness broke. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this hard time".

He was reportedly very vocal in Strategy Group meetings and other gatherings of F1's main players. "At this hard time, we would like to express our sympathies to the Marchionne family, to our colleagues at Fiat Chrysler, Ferrari and CNH International".

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.

His passion not just for cars, but for building sustainable business models that gave people jobs and security made him an outstanding contributor on the automotive world stage.

Here's what industry leaders have said in tribute to Marchionne.

Mr Marchionne was seen as the driving force behind Fiat-Chrysler's growth.

"We had our differences. but together we challenged the lazy little Italy that prefers to close factories rather than roll up their sleeves", said Marco Bentivoglio, general secretary of the CISL union's metalworkers branch, on hearing about Marchionne's illness.

Retired Ferrari F1 hotshoe Felipe Massa posted a post-race photo of Marchionne hugging him, on Instagram.

The sad news comes just days after the Maranello-based company announced "with deep sadness" that Marchionne was unable to return to work, with John Elkann named as Chairman in his stead, and Louis C. Camilleri CEO.

Turin, Italy's Juventus Football Club tweeted that the team would take to the field wearing black armbands Wednesday night. He also had a penchant for witty comments, such as suggesting in 2011 that anyone who thought Chrysler could have survived its 2009 bankruptcy without assistance from the US government was "smoking illegal material".

"The best way to honor Marchionne's memory is to build on the legacy he left us, continuing to develop human values of responsibility and openness of which he was the most ardent of champions".

He added: "My family and I will always be grateful for what he has done". We have a lost a huge supporter of our sport, a fierce competitor, an ally and a friend.

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