Former Fiat boss Marchionne dies at 66

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody

Marchionne, who was Italian and Canadan, joined Fiat in 2004 and led the Turin-based company's merger with bankrupt United States carmaker Chrysler.

He built the dysfunctional companies into the world's seventh-largest vehicle manufacturer.

But after it was discovered last week that he wouldn't be able to return to work, FCA announced that Mike Manley, who at the time headed the Jeep and Ram brands, would take over as CEO. He died at University Hospital in Zurich.

In the latter years of his life, Marchionne also made his mark in Formula 1. When Marchionne was named chief executive, Fiat had gone through five CEOs in less than two years.

The auto industry has lost one of its strongest protagonists for mergers and acquisitions at a time when strategic alliances with technology companies are increasingly supplanting transformational mergers between traditional carmakers. He steered Fiat and Chrysler from billions in losses back to profit.

He had revived Fiat by 2009 when he was picked by the U.S. government to save Chrysler from its trip through bankruptcy protection after being owned by a private equity company.

The auto that turned it all around for Chrysler, he said, was the 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Italy's biggest and most leftwing union CGIL said, however, that Marchionne maye have saved Fiat but did not save not union dialogue.

The cars that followed, he said, were simply refinements, as the company embraced what he called "a process of commitment to quality and to excellence". It was then put under Fiat's control.

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

2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia
2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Enlarge

But in a 2012 interview with Steve Kroft on "60 Minutes" Marchionne revealed his passion for driving fast cars, and lamented that Fiat Chrysler limited his driving Ferraris to closed tracks. The Fiat 500 compact became a success story - even ferrying Pope Francis around during his US visit.

The figure is a huge feat for a company whose debt amounted to €7.7bn at the end of 2014. "His managerial experience on a highly complex and closely regulated market is also of great importance, and will help him manage and motivate the team".

GM said commodity costs and unfavorable currency in Brazil and Argentina would have a net impact of around $1 billion on its 2018 results. "On behalf of the entire FIA community, all my thoughts go out to his family, his friends and his Ferrari and Fiat-Chrysler group teams". 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".

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Sergio Marchionne", said Carey.

"This is a sad day for all of us in F1".

"This morning's news is heartbreaking, and I know that it will also be heartbreaking for many other people", Manley told those listening in on the conference call.

"There is no doubt Sergio was a very special man and there is no doubt he will be sorely missed".

Born in the Abruzzo region of post-war Italy, Marchionne moved with his family to Toronto at the age of 14 and became educated in business administration in Canada.

He initially earned a degree in philosophy before adding accountancy qualifications, an MBA and a law degree to his CV.


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