Visionary Former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne Dead at 66

July 25th, 2018 by

Sergio Marchionne, the former CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) who stepped down in July (2018) has passed away, the company announced. He was 66. Marchionne, a steadfast CEO known for his candor and ruthlessness when it came to making changes within the business had planned to step down in April of 2019. He was known to believe in meritocracy and did away with a lot of the bureaucracy that had become customary in the industry. With his passing, the automotive industry loses one of the most intelligent, longest-serving (14 years), and innovative chief executives.

Marchionne was an unknown in the automotive world when he was named the new CEO of Fiat in 2004 with the company on the brink of collapse. While his career had primarily been in the finance and non-automotive industries, his impressive turnaround of SGS – a Swiss inspection and testing business – caught the attention of the Agnelli family, founders of the Italian automaking empire Fiat. Marchionne’s ability to bring businesses back from the edge was a talent he would once again get to use to the best of his ability in 2008 when Fiat announced they would be willing to cooperate in the bailout of Chrysler. Under his direction, the Italian automaker acquired a 20 percent stake in Chrysler, while the government bailout helped the company stay afloat. Eventually, in 2014, Fiat and Chrysler merged into a new entity we now refer to as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, with Fiat now owning a majority stake.

Marchionne leaves behind big shoes to fill as the man who saved not one, but two classic automotive companies and built a modern-day global automotive empire. FCA would do well to honor his legacy and build upon his success by following the business plans set in motion during his tenure, some as far off as 2022

Photo Source/Copyright: Associated Press