As Health Suffers, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne Could Be Replaced Today
Several news agencies are reporting that Sergio Marchionne, the colorful chief executive who returned Fiat, and then a combined Fiat Chrysler, to profitability, might not end the day as CEO.
Marchionne, who took the helm of Fiat in 2004, was due to retire next April, and recently unveiled the automaker’s upcoming five-year product plan. Two sources told Reuters that Marchionne suffered “massive” complications from a recent shoulder surgery. According to those sources, the boards of Fiat Chrysler, Ferrari, and CNH Industrial are all meeting Saturday to name a successor.
The Associated Press (via Detroit Free Press) claims the surgery took place in Switzerland three weeks ago.
Though Marchionne planned to step down in early 2019 — a move timed to coincide with the elimination of FCA’s longstanding debt — the 66-year-old executive planned to stay on as head of the newly spun-off Ferrari for some time after. According to sources who spoke to Bloomberg, board member Louis Camilleri will likely take the CEO position at the Italian sports car maker, with John Elkann (heir of the controlling Agnelli family) serving as chairman.
Marchionne’s replacement at FCA will come from within the company, Elkann has already stated. Sources claim his duties will be split among several individuals, with one serving as CEO.
Among the most likely contenders for the top position are Jeep brand chief Mike Manley, CFO Richard Palmer, and FCA Europe head Alfredo Altavilla.
Since the acquisition of Chrysler by Fiat, Marchionne’s habit of plain speaking and wearing only sweaters set him apart from the industry’s polished automotive CEOs. During this time, Marchionne built Jeep into a global brand and a financial juggernaut, with the brand now valued higher than the company itself. FCA singled out Jeep, Ram, and the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands in its latest five-year plan as the automaker’s dominant global brands, relegating Chrysler, Dodge, and Fiat to smaller, more regional duties.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
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While not his biggest fan, I wish the man a swift recovery and future good health.
Wow. I'm no fan of Sergio's but this is not good news. I'm assuming he had rotator cuff surgery - several friends of mine have had it, and my sister, too, and even the best outcome includes a months-long recovery period. I'm hoping his prognosis improves, and he gets well soon.