Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has been replaced with former Jeep and Ram brand boss Mike Manley after the Italian-Canadian businessman’s health worsened in hospital over the weekend.
Marchionne was recovering from shoulder surgery when his condition began to deteriorate, with Italian publication La Stampa calling Marchionne’s situation “grave” and “irreversible.” A separate Italian publication, La Repubblica, reported the Ferrari chairman had been in a coma over the weekend and that doctors at the Zurich hospital had progressively tried to take him off the ventilator to no success.
“With reference to the health of Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 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,” the automaker said in a statement.
“As a consequence, Mr. Marchionne will be unable to return to work.”
“In the meantime, in order to provide for his full authority and operational continuity for the company, the Board has with immediate effect granted Mr. Manley all the powers of CEO,” the statement said. “He will also assume responsibility for the NAFTA region.”
Marchionne is hailed for helping to save Fiat and make Fiat Chrysler a profitable company. John Elkann, president of FCA and a friend of Marchionne’s, praised the executive’s leadership ability in a pre-prepared statement.
“For many, Sergio has been an enlightened leader, an incomparable point of reference: for me he was a person to talk with and trust, a mentor and above all a friend,” Elkann said.
“I am deeply saddened by the conditions of Sergio,” he added “it is a situation unthinkable until a few hours ago, which leaves everyone with a sense of injustice, my first thought goes to Sergio and his family”.
FCA says Manley and his management team will “proceed with the implementation of the 2018 – 2022 Business Plan as presented on June 1 of this year, a plan that will further assure FCA’s strong and independent future.”
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