Illness forces Marchionne out of Ferrari

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Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, left, is seen with Jeep brand President and CEO Mike Manley at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant, in Detroit.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives have been called for urgent meetings to appoint a successor to chief Sergio Marchionne after he suffered complications from surgery. A statement from Ferrari added that he would not be able to return to work.

FCA's board of directors met today to accelerate the CEO transition process in response to the news of Marchionne's health complications.

Manley joined the automaker in 2000 and has led Jeep for almost a decade.

"It's an end of an era with the iconic, highly quotable, sweater-wearing Sergio Marchionne stepping down, with significant very concerns about his ailing health", said Rebecca Lindland, executive analyst at Kelley Blue Book. Ferrari said Louis Camilleri of Philip Morris International will take over as CEO.

The outgoing boss implemented a surprising level of transparency for FCA when he delivered the "five year plan" in 2013, and the timing of his replacement is fitting with the 2018 - 2022 Business Plan presented just last month.

Sergio Marchionne Chief Executive Officer of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, smiles as he answers a question during a press conference at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit Michigan
Marchionne was one of the better-liked industry execs Credit JEWEL SAMAD /AFP

"It was a situation that was unthinkable until a few hours ago, and leaves us all with a sense of injustice", he added. The Italian-Canadian's illness has also accelerated change on the board of Ferrari, the luxury vehicle maker he chaired, and spun off from FCA in 2016. This will occur at the next shareholder's meeting which will be "called in the coming days". Along with FCA, the companies are controlled by Italy's Agnelli family.

Brands that have been driving the company's revenues include Jeep SUVs, Ram trucks and the premium brands, Maserati and Alfa Romeo.

By 1990, the Jeep brand - something of an automotive hot potato, with four major corporate parents in its 75-year history - had been absorbed into the Chrysler family.

Marchionne's tenure also has been controversial at times.

Marchionne, an Italian as well as a Canadian, is steeped in economics as well as philosophy.

Fiat Chrysler revealed no specific details about Sergio Marchionne's health Saturday when its board abruptly replaced him as CEO, but comments by the company and its chairman suggest that the 66-year-old has become gravely ill weeks after undergoing shoulder surgery.

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