What was once reported to be medical leave after shoulder surgery for the 66-year-old Sergio Marchionne has ended up turning into a sudden retirement, as the longtime CEO will not be returning to run Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles. The native of Chieti, Italy will be replaced by Mike Manley, native of Edenbridge, England, and head of the profitable and well-selling Jeep and Ram brands, to run the Italian-American automaker.
It’s been rumored that Manley would grab the reigns when Marchionne would officially retire as early as next year, but the succession plan has been set in motion early. Manley’s replacement has not yet been named.
Marchionne was appointed the fifth CEO of Fiat S.p.A. in two years back in 2004, and helmed a major turnaround of the automaker. Fiat then partnered with Chrysler LLC in 2009, and eventually acquired the American automaker to for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. Manley has been in charge of the Jeep brand since 2009, and then added Ram responsibilities in 2015.
Marchionne was fixated on eliminating the debts on FCA’s books, and leveraged the profits of Jeep and Ram vehicles to shrink industrial debt down to zero. Manley is now inheriting a plan already in motion that will attempt to make FCA the most profitable automaker in the U.S. by 2022.
FCA hasn’t disclosed Marchionne’s condition, which appears to be very serious, but has released the following statement:
“With reference to the health of Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV communicates with profound sorrow that during the course of this week unexpected complications arose while Mr. Marchionne was recovering from surgery and that these have worsened significantly in recent hours.”
From FCA Chairman John Elkann: “I am profoundly saddened to learn of Sergio’s state of health. It is a situation that was unthinkable until a few hours ago, and one that leaves us all with a real sense of injustice.
My first thoughts go to Sergio and his family.”
We at the Motrolix Network are pulling for him and wish him well.