Fiat Chrysler, owners of Ferrari, replaced an ailing Sergio Marchionne as chief executive on Saturday. The firm will now be lead by Mike Manley, head of the Jeep division. Marchionne’s health has deteriorated sharply following a surgery. However, Fiat-Chrysler have refused to disclose any details of Marchionne’s illness.
Manley is also responsible for the North America branch of Fiat-Chrysler. A statement by the company said that he will implement Marchionne’s strategy to ensure a “strong and independent future”.
The 66-year old Marchionne rescued Fiat and Chrysler from bankruptcy after taking over in 2004. He was planning to step down from the group in April 2019, but his sudden health crisis has only accelerated matters.
“FCA communicates with profound sorrow that during the course of this week unexpected complications arose while Mr Marchionne was recovering from surgery and that these have worsened significantly in recent hours,” the statement said.
According to the FCA, Marchionne was described by co-workers as a workaholic. The Italian underwent shoulder surgery and was in recovery but his situation has suddenly worsened.
This turn of events has fast-tracked succession plans at sportscar maker Ferrari. Along with FCA, Italy’s Agnelli family also controls the companies.
Marchionne, who was both chairman and CEO of Ferrari will be succeeded by FCA Chairman John Elkann. Elkann will take the position of new chairman, while board member Louis Camilleri will take on the role of chief executive.
Earlier, Marchionne had confessed that he planned to stay on as Ferrari Chairman and CEO until 2021.
On Friday, the FCA denied reports that Elkann summoned top executives to a meeting to reassign Marchionne’s responsibilities.
This change of hands at Ferrari will likely not affect the F1 team in the slightest but we may never know. Meanwhile, Ferrari driver, Sebastian Vettel will start the 2018 German Grand Prix from pole position.