Obituaries

Departments - News

Subscribe
August 21, 2018

John “Jack” Ross Schirra

John "Jack" Ross Schirra, a longtime sales associate for GIE Media’s Aerospace Manufacturing and Design, Today’s Medical Developments, and Today’s Motor Vehicles, died earlier this year, following a prolonged illness. He was 81.

After graduating from high school in Baldwin, Pennsylvania, in 1955, Schirra applied his drafting and engineering skills to the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory, producer of the first nuclear-powered submarine. In 1962, then 25-year-old Schirra began selling advertising for the Pittsburgh Yellow Pages, starting a 55-year career in publishing. Working mostly for industrial publications, he was executive vice president and group publisher of PennWell Publishing Co.’s oil and gas magazines.

Following his retirement from Penn-Well, he started his own publication in 2003. He later joined GIE Media as a regional director, working for longtime friend and then-group publisher Joe DiFranco, representing GIE industrial magazines throughout the West. GIE Manufacturing Group Publisher Mike DiFranco, Joe’s son, said of Schirra, “He will be greatly missed as he was not only a valuable member of our team but also a longtime friend of my dad’s and someone I looked up to for years."

Jack is survived by his wife of 60 years, Ellie Schirra, two children, and six grandchildren.

Sergio Marchionne

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) CEO Sergio Marchionne died in late July, days after the company replaced him as its chief due to complications following surgery.

“I believe that the best way to honor his memory is to build on the legacy he left us, continuing to develop the human values of responsibility and openness of which he was the most ardent champion,” FCA Chairman John Elkann said.

Marchionne had planned to retire next year, but the sudden departure of the executive who shepherded massive restructuring of Fiat, merging it with Chrysler in 2009, will be a loss. Mike Manley, a longtime FCA executive who has seen Chrysler through two ownership changes (from Daimler Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Management-owned Chrysler LLC to Fiat Chrysler) has taken over as interim CEO. Manley led FCA’s Jeep and Ram truck businesses and has been credited with the successful product revivals of both brands.

Marchionne had an almost immediate impact on Fiat after joining in 2004. The Italian automaker was struggling in Europe against better-financed competitors. An attempted merger with General Motors failed when the Detroit-based automaker decided it didn’t want most of Fiat’s assets. Marchionne won a $2 billion settlement from GM for breaking the deal and plowed those funds into new product development – eventually creating a revived Fiat 500 subcompact car.

In 2009, during the Great Recession, GM and Chrysler filed for U.S. government-back bankruptcies. GM remained independent, but members of President Barack Obama’s administration did not think Chrysler had the financial or technical resources to restructure itself, so merging with Fiat became a condition of the federal bailout.

Marchionne didn’t offer any cash, only vehicle designs, technical support, and promises to invest in U.S. production. In 2014, Marchionne took FCA public, and the following year, he held a $10 billion initial public stock offering for Ferrari, separating it from FCA.

Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford says, “Sergio Marchionne was one of the most respected leaders in the industry whose creativity and bold determination helped to restore Chrysler… His extraordinary leadership, candor, and passion for the industry will be missed.”

United Auto Workers President Gary Jones says, “During the industry’s dark days of the recession, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram were at a perilous point… When history looks back at his legacy, despite bumps and bruises along the way, in the end, the sun wasn’t setting when he left the company, the sun was rising. That will long be remembered.” www.fcagroup.com