Former Fiat Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne dies at 66

Motoring figures and politicians pay their respects to ‘one of the industry’s most revered figures’

Sergio Marchionne
Sergio Marchionne underwent a shoulder operation three weeks ago
(Image credit: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

Sergio Marchionne, the former boss of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), has died in a Zurich hospital at the age of 66.

The Canadian-Italian businessman had been recovering from surgery three weeks ago but his condition “worsened significantly” on Saturday, FCA said in a statement.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Marchionne developed an embolism last week “while convalescing from shoulder surgery”.

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The Italian car giant announced over the weekend that Marchionne would not return to his position as chief executive and would be succeeded by Briton Mike Manley, who had been running the firm’s subsidiary, Jeep.

Marchionne “is one of the industry’s most revered figures” after saving Fiat from potential bankruptcy, says Sky News. This resulted in factory closures and “thousands of job losses”, but Marchionne was able to return the firm to profit after the company made a €8.3bn (£7.4bn) loss in 2003.

In 2009, the US government picked Marchionne to save Chrysler from a similar fate, the broadcaster says, before FCA was formed in 2013. Since its inception, the group has overseen the operations of car giants including Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Jeep and Dodge.

John Elkann, FCA chairman and newly appointed Ferrari chief, said: “Unfortunately, what we feared has come to pass. Sergio Marchionne, man and friend, is gone.”

Politicians and public figures have also paid their respects, the BBC reports.

Sergio Mattarella, the Italian President, said: “Marchionne wrote an important page in the history of Italian industry. As leader of Fiat, he went through years of very deep and radical transformation of markets, production systems, financial strategies and trade union relations.”

Meanwhile, former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said: “Italy loses not only the most brilliant of its managers, but one of the symbolic figures of our country. He represented the best of Italy.”

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