London/Detroit: Former Fiat Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne for more than a year assured investors that he and the automaker's board were working on an orderly succession plan ahead of his expected departure in 2019.
Marchionne's death was confirmed by Fiat's holding company Exor NV, coming only days after he was replaced as CEO due to his ill-health. This afternoon, Elkann announced that the longtime CEO had passed away, saying: "Sergio Marchionne, man and friend, is gone". Marchionne was suddenly replaced as the CEO of Fiat-Chrysler last Saturday, after his condition worsened.
"Marchionne wrote an important page in the history of Italian industry".
Fiat pushed that change on Chrysler - and everyone benefited, he said.
"Those of us watching have received an education in management, finance, politics, oratory and what's possible via sheer force of will", Bernstein analyst Max Warburton said.
Born in Italy, Marchionne attended high school and college in Canada, where his family emigrated when he was 14.
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He dedicated himself fully to turn around the FIAT-Chrysler group and put all his energy to bring Scuderia Ferrari back to the top.
Last week it was reported that Marchionne had stepped down from his role at Fiat chief, the company citing illness as the reason for his departure.
Jetting between the company's offices and design studios in Europe and the United States, Marchionne dominated Fiat Chrysler, eclipsing the executives under him.
Marchionne was a visionary at a time when the auto industry was sorely in need of one. At the time, the company had been hemorrhaging billions of dollars annually.
The orchestration of the Fiat-Chrysler merger in 2014 was seen as the height of his achievement, and in recent years he had switched the strategy of the company to focus on SUVs, particularly from the Jeep brand.
He leaves behind his partner, Manuela Battezzato, who works in FCA's press office, along with two children, Alessio and Tyler, from estranged wife Orlandina. Marchionne brought it back to profitability in just one year, recording income of almost 1.5 billion euros in 2005.