Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s health crisis forced succession scramble

On Saturday, Fiat Chrysler named Jeep division head Mike Manley as CEO at the world's seventh-largest vehicle maker, saying the Briton would execute a new mid-term strategy that Marchionne had outlined in June.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Sergio Marchionne", he added. Regarded as a saviour of Fiat, Italy's automotive champion, the Italian-born Marchionne set in motion the marriage between Fiat and bankrupt USA rival Chrysler just over a decade ago.

Sergio Marchionne was divorced.

However, in February that year, Marchionne sparked controversy when he commented that loans to Chrysler from the United States and Canadian governments had been made at "shyster rates", a comment deemed to carry antisemitic connotations.

Under his direction and guidance, the automaker became debt free and was considered a profitable company once again.

Sergio Marchionne, who led Fiat Chrysler to prosperity in the face of a stubborn recession and a host of other challenges, has died.

He has yet to be confirmed by FCA's shareholders, but in order to keep the company running, FCA's board of directors granted Manley all the powers of CEO effective immediately.

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When it was announced that Marchionne's failing health would force him to step aside, John Elkann, the heir to legendary Fiat boss Gianni Agnelli issued a statement about the man he called "a mentor and above all a true friend".

Last week FCA replaced Marchionne as CEO with Mike Manley, saying Marchionne's condition had worsened.

Having joined Fiat in 2004, he was instrumental in Ferrari's return to championship contenders.

Mr Marchionne was seen as the driving force behind Fiat-Chrysler's growth. FCA is a culture of leaders and employees that were born out of adversity and who operate without sheet music, ' Marchionne explained during the presentation. The Italian-Canadian leaves behind a remarkable legacy that includes leading the automaker's dramatic turnaround from the brink of bankruptcy.

-Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Co.

Marchionne was a powerful advocate for the automaker's Italian cars and brands, and said he would not restructure the company to leave a "stump" company in Italy that could not survive. Our thoughts are with Manuela, and his sons Alessio and Tyler.

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