Ex-Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne Passes Away at 66

Only four days after Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sergio Marchionne resigned from his post due to complications from a surgical procedure he recently underwent, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has announced his passing at 66 years of age. Marchionne recently celebrated his birthday a little over a month ago on June 17.

The news was announced by John Elkann, Chief Executive Officer of Exor, the Italian holding company that controls FCA and Ferrari, among other things..

As late as May 2018, Marchionne was still busy at the helm of the company, after having met United States President Donald Trump in the White House to discuss about the country's automotive industry.

"I am optimistic that the President can find a means to preserve a national program that drives continuous improvement in vehicle efficiency and, at the same time, allows us to build vehicles customers want, at prices they can afford," said Marchionne in a statement after the meeting. "Achieving this result will require the willingness by all parties to compromise through thoughtful and data-driven dialogue."

Various reports state though that Marchionne was last seen in public in Rome on June 26 and by July 5, he reportedly had his shoulder operated on. On July 21, Elkann painted a grim picture of Marchionne's health when FCA announced that plans for his successor were already underway.

"I am profoundly saddened to learn of Sergio's state of health," Elkann said in his statement then. "It is a situation that was unthinkable until a few hours ago, and one that leaves us all with a real sense of injustice."

"The succession plans we have just announced, even if not without pain from a personal point of view, mean we can guarantee the maximum possible continuity, preserving our companies’ unique cultures," Elkann added. "It has been my privilege to have had Sergio at my side for all these years."

Marchionne was appointed CEO of Chrysler after it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2009 after it was bailed out by the United States government--to protect its domestic automotive industry--and after the infusion of capital from Fiat as well as by funds from the Canadian government and the United Auto Workers labor union. It was under Marchionne's watch that Fiat acquired a controlling stake in Chrysler in January 2014. In May 2014, steps to merge Fiat with Chrysler started with the establishment of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. This was completed in August 2014 and by December of the same year, the two companies were formally renamed as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to reflect the merger.

Below is Elkann and Exor's statement in full with regards to Marchionne's passing:

"Unfortunately, what we feared has come to pass. Sergio Marchionne, man and friend, is gone.

"I believe that the best way to honor his memory is to build on the legacy he left us, continuing to develop the human values of responsibility and openness of which he was the most ardent champion.

"My family and I will be forever grateful for what he has done. Our thoughts are with Manuela, and his sons Alessio and Tyler.

"I would ask again everyone to respect the privacy of Sergio’s family."

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