Former Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has died, according to a statement by the carmaker’s controlling family shareholder on Wednesday. He was 66.
Marchionne passed away following complications from shoulder surgery, undertaken on June 27 in Zurich. His health reportedly rapidly deteriorated following the surgery, leading to Marchionne’s departure from Fiat Chrysler over the weekend.
FCA Chairman John Elkann confirmed Marchionne’s death, saying in a statement, “Unfortunately, what we feared has come to pass. Sergio Marchionne, man and friend, is gone.”
Marchionne was known for turning around the Fiat brand when he joined as CEO in June 2004. At the time, the company had been on the brink of bankruptcy. The company’s patriarch, Gianni Agnelli, had died in January 2003, swiftly followed by the death of his younger brother Umberto.
The family’s heir and company chairman Elkann, hired Marchionne at a time when Fiat had faced several years of significant losses. When Marchionne was named chief executive, Fiat had gone through five CEOs in less than two years. Marchionne turned the company around, even making Fiat’s 2009 acquisition of Detroit carmaker Chrysler a success, debuting the joint Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV in October 2014. In the years since, Marchionne transformed the joint company into a profitable, international business.
In the past four years alone, Fiat Chrysler’s stock price nearly quadrupled under Marchionne. The self-describe workaholic was handsomely compensated for the success he brought to the company, earning over 9.5 million euros ($12 million) in compensation and bonus last year, as well as close to $36 million in Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) stock in March 2017 from the three previous years.
Marchionne had planned to retire in 2019. However, his departure was hastened after Fiat Chrysler began facing questions about his health for the last several weeks, as he had not been seen in public since June 26, at an event in Rome. He was replaced as CEO of Fiat Chrysler by Mike Manley on July 21.