Former Fiat Chrysler CEO Marchionne dies

Anna Jefferson
July 26, 2018

But a health crisis that left 66-year-old Marchionne incapacitated in a Swiss hospital set off a transition last week that was sudden and rushed, banking and industry sources said. Regarded as a savoir of Fiat, Italy's automotive champion, the Italian-born Marchionne set in motion the marriage between Fiat and bankrupt USA rival Chrysler just over a decade ago. "And for automakers in our industry here in North America, there wouldn't be a Chrysler if it weren't for Sergio Marchionne standing in the hallway at the US treasury department and taking the helm of a company that was in bankruptcy and at the brink of failure".

Marchionne, who was also the Chairman and CEO of FCA, had been running Ferrari since taking over from Luca de Montezemolo in 2014.

Turning to the business, Manley notes the tough second quarter predicted at the Italian-American automaker's June 1 Capital Markets Day backgrounder came to pass.

"What happens beyond 2018, there's a lot of uncertainty in this space at this point in time", he said.

FCA has yet to make any significant inroads in China.

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Marchionne had planned to step down as CEO of FCA after the close of 2018, with the presentation of the year-end results in April.

The company lowered its expectations of profits for this year, but it also met another one of Marchionne's goals, by ridding itself of net industrial debt.

Marchionne had advocated industry mergers to share the cost of building electric and self-driving cars.

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.

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. The company also brought Fiat cars back to North America. Marchionne is credited with revamping the company, Italy's premier private enterprise, from top to bottom.

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"Sergio Marchionne, man and friend, is gone".

"We received the news this morning that Sergio had passed away", Manley stated at the beginning of the conference call, "and clearly, this is a very sad and hard time, and our thoughts and prayers go out to Sergio's family, friends and colleagues".

FCA recorded a record profit of €1.4 billion ($1.6 billion) in NAFTA based on strong sales of Wrangler and Cherokee SUVs and the new Ram light-duty pickup. He slashed costs by reducing the number of vehicle architectures and creating joint ventures to pool development and plant costs.

Born in Italy, raised and educated in Canada, Marchionne was a worldwide leader who believed in the importance of Detroit's status as the center of the auto industry.

As for Ferrari's racing fortunes, Marchionne helped lay the foundation for the team's rebound in Formula One.

Flooding downpours continue the next few days, Wednesday likely the wettest day
There's a 60 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before noon Thursday; the high is expected to reach 84 degrees. Despite a cold front moving in on the area, we'll still be very hot with temperatures peaking right around noon to 1pm.


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