Sergio Marchionne, the freewheeling turnaround artist who architected and brokered the revival of Fiat and Chrysler, has died. He died at University Hospital in Zurich. The widely admired executive had suffered complications from shoulder surgery, and his health rapidly deteriorated.
EXOR NV, the holding company of Fiat's founding Agnelli family, confirmed the news in a brief statement.
Days later, he went to Switzerland to undergo what Fiat Chrysler (FCA) described as a shoulder operation.
Famous for his signature black jumpers, sharp tongue and workaholic lifestyle, he is credited with saving both Fiat and Chrysler from bankruptcy.
Battered by sagging revenues and skyrocketing costs, Marchionne helped turn Fiat around. "At this hard time, we would like to express our sympathies to the Marchionne family, to our colleagues at Fiat Chrysler, Ferrari and CNH International".
Other successful business ventures included the spinoff of the heavy industrial vehicle and truck maker CNH and the Ferrari supercar maker. "He is not just demanding; he wants all your life devoted to him", said one banker who worked with Marchionne on various deals in recent years.
Marchionne played an important role in the bigger picture of F1's future, seeking an informal political alliance with Mercedes, and making it clear that Ferrari did not want to see a "dumbing down" of the engine regulations.
On Saturday, Fiat Chrysler named Jeep division head Mike Manley as CEO at the world's seventh-largest auto maker, saying the Briton would execute a new mid-term strategy that Marchionne had outlined in June.
"He led with great passion, energy and insight, and inspired all around him". His contributions to Formula One are immeasurable.
'He taught us to think differently and to have the courage to change, often in unconventional ways, always acting with a sense of responsibility for the companies and their people, ' said Elkann.
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