The formidable vehicle industry executive was responsible for the turnaround of Chrysler in 2009 when the United States carmaker emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection having received emergency funds from the USA government.
As eulogies flooded in, FCA shares fell up to 10 percent as investors digested an unexpected 35 percent fall in net profit, well below market forecasts.
“I don’t know what will happen now, because we must start over. If you don’t deliver, you are out”. Yet even as he garnered criticism from politicians and unions for slashing jobs and cutting costs, Marchionne argued that moving slowly could be even more risky. Fiat Chrysler said Saturday that due to his deteriorating health Marchionne “will be unable to return to work” and found a replacement.
Famous for his signature black jumpers, sharp tongue and workaholic lifestyle, he is credited with saving both Fiat and Chrysler from bankruptcy.
On Saturday, FCA named Jeep division head Mike Manley as chief executive at the world’s seventh-largest carmaker, saying the 54-year-old Briton would execute a new mid-term strategy that Marchionne had outlined in June.
Mr Marchionne, who was also Ferrari’s chairman, had led the combined company for more than a decade and planned to step down next year. Ferrari had been an independent company from its creation in 1947 until Fiat purchased a majority stake in 1969.
He became Fiat’s chief executive in 2004.
Marchionne played a key role in negotiations shaping the future of Formula 1, and threatened to pull Ferrari out of the sport on more than one occasion. Born in Italy, Marchionne’s family emigrated to Canada when he was 13, and he had dual-citizenship. Concezio met Maria while he was serving in the carabiniere in the Adriatic region of Istria, but moved to Chieti in 1945 when Yugoslav troops occupied Istria. He studied philosophy and law – but he also got degrees in business and commerce, setting him on a career path that wound its way from Canadian accounting firms to SGS, a Swiss testing and certification company – and finally to Fiat.
He initially earned a degree in philosophy before adding accountancy qualifications, an MBA and a law degree to his CV.