Sergio Marchionne has been replaced as the boss of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles by Jeep boss Mike Manley, after suffering serious complications following surgery.
The 66-year-old Italian-Canadian has been CEO of Fiat since 2004, and has headed up the FCA Group since Fiat and Chrysler’s merger in 2011. Marchionne had been due to step down as CEO next year. He has also been replaced as chairman and CEO of Ferrari.
Marchionne is understood to have undergone shoulder surgery recently, although no specifics of his condition have been released. An FCA Group statement said: “during the course of this week unexpected complications arose when Mr Marchionne was recovering from surgey and that these have worsened significantly in recent hours.
“As a consequence, Mr Marchionne will be unable to return to work.”
“The board of directors of FCA, meeting today [Saturday], firstly expressed its closeness to Sergio Marchionne and his family and underlined the extraordinary contribution, both human and professional, that he has made to the company in these years.”
Having overseen the merger of Fiat and Chrysler, Marchionne has overseen the firm's decision to focus on premium brands such as Jeep and Alfa Romeo ahead of Fiat and Chrysler themselves. With sales and profits growing, the Group is on course to clear its debt this year.
Sergio Marchionne has watched Jeep and Ram grow under Mike Manley's leadership.
With Marchionne already due to step down next year, the board said it has “resolved to accelerate the CEO transition process” by naming Briton Manley as the Group’s new CEO. While the board had given Manley all the powers of CEO “with immediate effect”, the move will need to be approved by a meeting of shareholders.
Kent-born Manley joined DaimlerChrysler in 2000, taking over as boss of Jeep in 2009. He also heads Ram. Since taking over he has overseen the growth of Jeep in the USA and a big push into the European market.
The FCA Group recently unveiled its five-year business plan running until 2022, focusing on the Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Jeep and Ram brands.
In a separate statement, Ferrari paid tribute to “the extraordinary contribution” Marchionne had made to the firm. Ferrari’s board has named John Elkann as a new chairman, and will propose to shareholders that Louis C Camilleri be named CEO.
Elkann is the grandson of Gianni Agnelli, and serves as chairman and CEO of EXOR, the holding and investment company owned by the Agnelli and Elkann families.
Camilleri, 63, was born in Malta and was chairman of the Philip Morris tobacco firm, a long-time sponsor of Ferrari’s F1 team, until 2014. He already sits on the Ferrari board.