Cleveland, Ohio – Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)'s former chief executive officer, died Tuesday following complications from surgery. He was 66.
Marchionne, who has been credited with saving both Fiat and Chrysler from insolvency during his career, had been hospitalized following shoulder surgery, and his health had deteriorated so sharply that FCA's board of directors replaced him as the company's head on Sunday.
Throughout the auto industry, one of the greatest insults is to call someone an accountant instead of a car guy, a criticism leveled at cost cutters who don't appreciate great designs. Marchionne was the exception, a Canadian/Italian cost manager whose time at the head of the global automaker was one of product renaissance.
"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. "My family and I will be forever grateful for what he has done. Our thoughts are with Manuela, and his sons Alessio and Tyler."
Tributes to Marchionne flowed Wednesday:
- Tributes pour in for ex-Fiat boss Marchionne
- Sergio Marchionne, CEO Who Steered Fiat Chrysler, Dies Aged 66
- Sergio Marchionne, who saved Chrysler and Fiat, dies at 66
We at General Motors offer our condolences to Sergio Marchionne’s family and friends. Sergio created a remarkable legacy in the automotive industry. Our thoughts are also with our industry colleagues at Fiat Chrysler as they deal with this sudden loss.— Mary Barra (@mtbarra) July 25, 2018
Thoughts from Bill Ford on the tragic passing of Sergio Marchionne. pic.twitter.com/MgenIcuVEo— Mark Truby (@mtruby) July 25, 2018
UAW President Gary Jones
“During the industry’s dark days of the recession, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram were at a perilous point. Working with the UAW members, the FCA rebirth was borne when many doubted it would come. As in all labor-management relationships, there were clashes and disagreements. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sergio’s family. And 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.”
UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, Head of The FCA Department
“UAW FCA members recognize that Sergio Marchionne helped build a growing company that provides job stability and certainty for their families every day. We may not have always agreed. We may have had some tussles along the way at the bargaining table. But Sergio Marchionne never abandoned his commitment to the collective bargaining process even when he disagreed with membership. For our members the success of his vision changed people’s lives. That is a rich legacy.”