Fiat Chrysler (FCA) chief executive Sergio Marchionne has died, the carmaker’s controlling family shareholder announced on Wednesday.
Marchionne, who was 66, fell gravely ill after suffering complications following recent surgery in a Zurich hospital. (According to Reuters.)
On Saturday FCA replaced Marchionne, a lawyer, as CEO with Mike Manley, a British engineer. The announcement relayed that” Marchionne’s condition had worsened. The 54-year-old Manley, who has been with the company since 2000, led the Jeep brand’s dramatic global expansion over the last decade.
“Unfortunately, what we feared has come to pass. Sergio Marchionne, man and friend, is gone,” FCA Chairman John Elkann, of the controlling Agnelli family, said in a statement.
Marchionne engineered turnarounds to save both Fiat and Chrysler from near-certain failure. Marchionne joined Fiat in 2004 and led the Turin-based company’s merger with bankrupt U.S. carmaker Chrysler. He built the dysfunctional companies into the world’s seventh-largest automaker.
Tributes from industry leaders cited Marchionne’s long-term effect on the industry.
“Sergio created a remarkable legacy in the automotive industry. Our thoughts are also with our industry colleagues at Fiat Chrysler as they deal with this sudden loss,” General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement.
The great-grandson of Ford Motor Co. founder Henry Ford praised Marchionne’s managerial skill. “Sergio Marchionne was one of the most respected leaders in the industry whose creativity and bold determination helped to restore Chrysler to financial health and grow Fiat Chrysler into a profitable global automaker,” Bill Ford said in a statement.
Shares of FCA were down more than 7% in premarket action.
The Associated Press and Fox News contributed to this article.