Sergio Marchionne Resigns as CEO of Fiat Chrysler

Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, pauses during a Bloomberg Television interview at the automaker’s annual general meeting in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Friday, April 13, 2018. Fiat Chrysler said its proceeding carefully with choosing the right internal candidate to replace long-standing Marchionne, in a bid to ease the challenge the transition poses. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Fiat Chrysler on Saturday announced the sudden resignation of longtime CEO Sergio Marchionne, who is stepping down due to complications from surgery.

Replacing him will be the former boss of FCA’s Ram and Jeep brands, Mike Manley.

The company said in a statement that “unexpected complications arose while Mr. Marchionne was recovering from surgery and that these have worsened significantly in recent hours.”

“As a consequence, Mr. Marchionne will be unable to return to work,” the statement said.

Marchionne is an automotive industry legend, and is widely credited with rescuing Chrysler after the financial crisis left US car companies limping along. Known for logging long hours at work, he rarely wears a suit and is often seen in black sweaters that have become his trademark.

Marchionne, 66, will also leave his roles as chairman and chief executive at Ferrari, which was spun off from FCA several years ago. The luxury carmaker said Louis Camilleri, a Ferrari board member and chairman of Philip Morris International Inc., will become CEO.

John Elkann, a member of the Agnelli family that founded Fiat in 1899, will become Ferrari’s chairman.

Elkann issued a statement saying he was “profoundly saddened” by news of Marchionne’s health problems.

“Over the past 14 years together we have lived through successes and difficulties, internal and external crises, but also unique and unrepeatable moments, both personal and professional,” Elkann, the chairman of Exor, which owns a large stake in FCA, said in the statement.

When Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy in 2009, there was serious doubt that the automaker could be saved. The Obama administration was in the process of bailing out rival General Motors, but it was debating whether it should just let Chrysler die.

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SOURCE: CNN, Jackie Wattles, Chris Isidore and Peter Valdes-Dapena

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