The Ferrari Owners’ Club
of Great Britain

Sergio Marchionne, Ferrari Chairman and CEO, Succumbs

28-07-2018

Sergio Marchionne, the man in black and self-proclaimed fixer who plucked Chrysler from the ashes of bankruptcy in 2009 and hitched it to Fiat to create a money-making global automaker, has died, according to a statement from Fiat Chrysler Chairman John Elkann. He was 66.

“Unfortunately, what we feared has come to pass. Sergio Marchionne, man and friend, is gone,” Elkann said in the statement issued by Exor, the holding company for the controlling Agnelli family.

Marchionne became gravely ill after what the company has called shoulder surgery, forcing him to be replaced as CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on July 21. The company appointed Mike Manley, 54, head of the automaker’s Jeep and Ram brands, as Marchionne’s successor.

Marchionne was already beginning to wind down a remarkable career — he telegraphed well in advance that he planned to retire as CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in April 2019, after the conclusion of the company’s 2014-18 business plan.

It was an improbable career that saw a young Italian immigrant in Canada go to college, become an accountant and, years later, arrive seemingly out of nowhere in European corporate circles to first save Fiat Group and later use Chrysler’s strengths in light trucks to forge the combined Italian-American company into a true global automaker.

Concerns over Marchionne’s medical condition rippled through the company for weeks. Corporate directors called a meeting in Italy on July 21 to determine his successor. The Italian business website Lettera43 reported that Marchionne suffered an embolism while undergoing an operation at the University of Zurich in late June for an invasive shoulder sarcoma.

Marchionne, a workaholic who often slept on a sofa aboard a plane as he traveled regularly to steer Fiat Chrysler, was a heavy smoker and espresso drinker until quitting both about a year ago. In his last public appearance, on June 26, he appeared fatigued and out of breath as he presented a Jeep Wrangler to Italy’s paramilitary police, the Carabinieri, at a ceremony in Rome.

Marchionne captivated the global auto industry over the last decade with his candid assessments, tireless competitive spirit, remarkable transparency and multiple roles: chairman and CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, chairman and CEO of Ferrari, chairman of Maserati, and chairman of CNH Industrial, a European producer of trucks, buses, tractors and construction vehicles.

Marchionne’s death prompted a wave of tributes from rivals, the racing world and other corners of the business community.

A statement released by Ferrari NV states:

“The Board has named John Elkann as Chairman and will propose to Shareholders, at a meeting to be called in the coming days, that Louis C. Camilleri be named as CEO.

“The Board has also given Louis C. Camilleri the necessary powers to ensure continuity of the company’s operation.”