Since Fiat Chrysler Chairman John Elkann on Wednesday announced the passing of former Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne, there’s been an outpouring of kind words from those both within and without the automotive industry. Easily forgotten is the fact that, after FCA spun off Ferrari as a separate, standalone business entity, Marchionne remained CEO and Chairman of the Italian sportscar-maker, concurrent with his role in leading Fiat Chrysler. Thus, the celebrated automotive exec maintained strong ties to the racing community through the Scuderia Ferrari F1 racing team, as well as Ferrari’s myriad other factory motorsport efforts.
Sergio was set to continue serving as Chairman of Ferrari after his retirement as CEO of FCA and Ferrari, but since his passing, John Elkann has been named Ferrari Chairman in his place. Mike Manley and Louis Camilleri have been tapped to serve as chief executives at FCA and Ferrari, respectively.
FIA President Jean Todt was one of many to pay tribute to Sergio Marchionne in the wake of the Canadian-Italian executive’s passing, stating:
It is with great sadness that I learned that Sergio Marchionne tragically and unexpectedly passed away. Sergio achieved a colossal amount for the automotive industry and motor sport worldwide. He dedicated himself fully to turn around the FIAT-Chrysler group and put all his energy to bring Scuderia Ferrari back to the top.
He was an endearing, upstanding and brave man, an unconventional and visionary leader. He was an eminent member of the FIA F1 Strategy Group and of the FIA High-Level Panel for Road Safety. His death is a considerable loss. On behalf of the entire FIA community, all my thoughts go out to his family, his friends and his Ferrari and Fiat-Chrysler group teams.
Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and General Motors CEO Mary Barra both put rivalry aside and offered their support, too. Bill Ford Jr. said:
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. His extraordinary leadership, candor and passion for the industry will be missed by everyone who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this difficult time.
We at General Motors offer our condolences to Sergio Marchionne’s family and friends. 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.
Even Italian President Sergio Mattarella had kind words to share about the late Sergio Marchionne, saying:
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. He has ensured the continuity and the re-launch of the group by building a new combination able to keep up with the competition.
Sergio Marchionne passed away due to complications stemming from a surgical procedure on his right shoulder. According to reports, the late CEO underwent surgery for a sarcoma, experiencing a cerebral embolism during the procedure that rendered him comatose and unable to breathe without the assistance of a ventilator.