Who Was Sergio Marchionne? Legendary Fiat Chrysler CEO Dies at Age 66

Who Was Sergio Marchionne? Legendary Fiat Chrysler CEO Dies at Age 66

Who Was Sergio Marchionne? Legendary Fiat Chrysler CEO Dies at Age 66

Marchionne engineered turnarounds to save both Fiat and Chrysler from near-certain failure. "At this hard time we extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues".

Marchionne had reportedly been suffering from chronic pain in his shoulder caused by an invasive sarcoma - a form of cancer that develops in the body's soft tissue - and suffered an embolism during surgery.

The charismatic executive took the helm of serially embattled automaker Fiat in 2004, and was the driving force of the acquisition of then-bankrupt Detroit automaker Chrysler, which the Italian company announced in 2009 on the heels of the financial crisis.

Marchionne had been planning to step down from FCA next year.

He was handpicked by the U.S. government to save Chrysler and is credited with turning the dysfunctional companies into the world's seventh-largest automaker.

Marchionne was credited with returning Ferrari to one of the leading teams in motorsport and Formula One chairman and CEO Chase Carey described him as "both a leader and a friend".

On the ramp-up of the redesigned Ram, Manley and Palmer said the company had spent a second $300 million in the second quarter - as it had in Q1 - addressing issues with production of the pickup. It blamed the result on a weaker performance in China, a market that represents one of the new CEO's immediate headaches.

Manley said "very, very cost conscious" Chinese consumers sat waiting for prices to come down.

Sergio Marchionne
Sergio Marchionne was always at the centre of media attention when it came to race weekends

FCA has yet to make any significant inroads in China. Last month, FCA paid off its net industrial debt, which was part of a larger plan to spend billions on new cars and technologies by 2022. It also unveiled fresh bold targets for Jeep, FCA's profit engine. At the time, the company had been hemorrhaging billions of dollars annually.

Piero Ferrari, son of late motor racing legend Enzo, said Marchionne had reminded him of his father.

Palmer was asked whether he believed Marchionne would have lowered the company's 2018 guidance, as FCA did today.

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.

In the absence of a partner, Manley needs to show FCA can keep churning out profits on its own, even as emissions rules tighten, SUV competition intensifies and worries over potential US emissions fines abound.

North America continued its role as profit-driver, generating 85 per cent of the company's €1.65bn earnings before interest and taxes. A global economic crisis that bottomed out auto sales in key USA and European markets prevented him from reaching that goal, but his industrial vision never faltered as he spun off CNH and Ferrari into stand-alone entities.

Tributes arrived from industry figures and politicians worldwide, praising his perseverance, hard negotiating skills and candor.

Michael Manley, chief executive officer of Chrysler Group LLC's Jeep brand speaks during the media preview of the 2016 New York International Auto Show in Manhattan, New York March 23, 2016.

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