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Fiat boss Marchionne dies aged 66

Fiat boss Marchionne dies aged 66

Former Fiat Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne, one of the motor industry's most tenacious and respected chiefs, has died, succumbing to complications from recent surgery.

The two companies merged in 2014, leading the Italian-Canadian to become CEO of FCA, and later that year he was named chairman and CEO of Ferrari, taking over from Luca di Montezemolo who had held the role of president since 1991.

On the day of the death of his predecessor, Mike Manley had to give his first earnings call as Chief Executive Officer of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. "There is no doubt that Sergio was a very special unique man and there is no doubt that he's going to be sorely missed". The company announced last week that Marchionne would not return to his post with Fiat, a somber indicator of what was expected to occur. "Our heartfelt sympathies are with Sergio's family and all at Scuderia Ferrari at this hard time". This afternoon, Elkann announced that the longtime CEO had passed away, saying: "Sergio Marchionne, man and friend, is gone".

"Sergio achieved a colossal amount for the automotive industry and motor sport worldwide", Todt said.

But his strategy for turning Fiat around - slashing costs, launching new models and focussing on design - enabled the Italy's biggest private-sector employer to drive back to profit after four years in the red.

His passing was confirmed Wednesday by John Elkann, grandson of Gianni Agnelli and chairman of EXOR, the investment company that controls FCA.

The automaker has also been hit by a 22 percent sales drop in China through May of this year and is seen as unlikely to be able to raise prices to offset tariffs there on USA -made vehicles, especially its luxury Lincoln models. Sergio Marchionne had fallen ill.

Mr Marchionne joined Fiat in 2004 and led the Turin-based company's merger with bankrupt U.S. vehicle maker Chrysler. "Sergio Marchionne's death is a huge loss, and Sophie and I send our condolences to his family and friends". His partner, Manuela Battezzato, works in Fiat Chrysler's press office.

Altavilla, 54, quit after being told of Manley's appointment on July 21, one of the sources said. Whether it was popular or not or whether there was consensus in the company or not, he would pursue that.

The auto industry has lost one of its strongest protagonists for mergers and acquisitions at a time when strategic alliances with technology companies are increasingly supplanting transformational mergers between traditional carmakers.

"If he did not like what he saw he made sure you knew.When he liked it, it came with a cliffhanger 'what the this? - it looks amazing!'" Busse wrote.

Marchionne had "created a remarkable legacy", said Mary Barra, the GM boss that rejected Marchionne's tie-up advances.

Tripling profits in just three years, he subsequently turned around the fortunes of SGS SA, a Swiss product-testing company controlled by the Agnelli family. To that end, he publicly campaigned for a merger with General Motors 2015 but was rebuffed by the USA carmaker.



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