Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has made a significant announcement this weekend. CEO Sergio Marchionne has been unexpectedly and suddenly replaced by the company due to his worsening health.
The automaker has not said what health issues Marchionne is suffering from, just that his health had suddenly worsened. Marchionne underwent shoulder surgery approximately three weeks ago, and had been on leave recovering. A statement issued by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said that “during the course of this week unexpected complications arose while Mr. Marchionne was recovering from surgery and that these have worsened significantly in recent hours.” The statement added that Marchionne would not be able to return to work.
FCA Chairman John Elkann released a sombre statement where he said that he is “profoundly saddened to learn of Sergio’s state of health. It is a situation that was unthinkable until a few hours ago, and one that leaves us all with a real sense of injustice.”
Italian born but Canadian raised, Marchionne was named CEO of Fiat in 2004. After turning that company’s fortunes around in just two years, he was the executive who proposed the merger between Fiat and Chrysler that helped Chrysler recover following bankruptcy. He had previously announced plans to retire from FCA next spring.
At a board meeting held Saturday, a replacement CEO was chosen. Mike Manley was named to the position by the FCA board of directors. A shareholder meeting will be called in the coming days where Manley will be proposed for election to the board and to serve as executive director. In the meantime, the board has given Manley full CEO powers. As it was already expected Marchionne would be retiring next year, FCA’s statement says that this move accelerated a process that was already underway.
Manley is a long-time employee of FCA, coming from the Chrysler side. He has been CEO of Jeep since 2009, during which time annual Jeep sales have risen from 320,000 to more than 1.4 million. Manley was also named CEO of the Ram truck brand in 2015.
Marchionne was also Chairman and CEO of Ferrari. Ferrari announced that the board has named John Elkann as chairman and Louis C. Camilleri as CEO. Elkann is chairman and CEO of Exor, an investment company which holds a major stake in Ferrari. Camilleri is a former chairman of Phillip Morris International and held a seat on the board at Ferrari. The selections will be proposed to shareholders at an upcoming meeting.
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