Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has experienced “unexpected complications” following surgery. Unfortunately, these complications have “worsened significantly in recent hours” and the company has confirmed he won’t be able to return to work.
Following an emergency board meeting earlier today, FCA resolved to accelerate the CEO transition process that has already been looking for Marchionne’s replacement as he planned to retire next year. In the meantime, Mike Manley has been named acting CEO.
While Manley’s position is only temporary, FCA’s Board of Directors will purpose electing him to the board and making him the company’s next executive director. This will occur at the next shareholder’s meeting which will be “called in the coming days.”
In a statement, John Elkann – the Chairman of the Exor investment group and the heir to the Agnelli family – said “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.” Elkann went on to describe Marchionne as a mentor, true friend and an “enlightened leader” with unusual intelligence.
Elkann said it has been a “privilege to have had Sergio at my side for all these years” as the two have worked closely together for the past 14 years. He noted they have “lived through successes and difficulties” and have experienced “unique and unrepeatable moments, both personal and professional,” during this time.
As for the succession plan, Elkann said it will “guarantee the maximum possible continuity, preserving our companies’ unique cultures.” He also asked everyone for their “understanding in these circumstances and to respect Sergio’s privacy.”
Speaking of the succession plan, Manley was considered to be one of the leading candidates to replace Marchionne before today’s events. He has been the head of Jeep since 2009 and the head of Ram since 2015. Both brands have experienced enormous success under his leadership and he has had an impressive career ever since he joined what was then DaimlerChrysler in 2000.
Update – Marchionne leaving Ferrari as well
Besides being the head of FCA, Marchionne was Chairman and CEO of Ferrari. The Italian automaker has now confirmed, with “deep sadness,” that he will not be able to return to work for them either.
As a result, Ferrari’s Board of Directors has named John Elkann as Chairman and will propose to name Louis C. Camilleri as CEO at the company’s next shareholders meeting. In the meantime, Camilleri has been appointed acting CEO and has been given the “necessary powers to ensure continuity of the company’s operation.”
Camilleri isn’t a household name, but he was the former head of Philip Morris International which is now known as the Altria Group.