Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne speaks during a media conference in Balocco, northern Italy on June 1 2018. Picture: REUTERS/MASSIMO PINCA
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne speaks during a media conference in Balocco, northern Italy on June 1 2018. Picture: REUTERS/MASSIMO PINCA

Milan — Former Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, one of the car industry’s most tenacious and respected vehicle chiefs, has died, succumbing to complications from recent surgery.

The car maker’s controlling family shareholder confirmed news reports of his death on Wednesday, without giving the cause of death or saying when he had died.

Marchionne fell gravely ill after what the company had described as shoulder surgery in a Zurich hospital. He was replaced as CEO last weekend after Fiat Chrysler said his condition had worsened.

"Unfortunately, what we feared has come to pass. Sergio Marchionne, man and friend, is gone," Fiat Chrysler chairman John Elkann, scion of the controlling Agnelli family, said in a statement.

Marchionne rescued Fiat and Chrysler from bankruptcy after taking the wheel of the Italian car maker in 2004, and he multiplied Fiat’s value 11 times through 14 years of canny deal-making. He was due to step down at Fiat Chrysler in April 2019.

"The best way to honor his memory is to build on the legacy he left us, continuing to develop the human values of responsibility and openness of which he was the most ardent champion," Elkann added.

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

Fiat Chrysler has said Manley will work to ensure a "strong and independent" future for the group.

On Saturday, Marchionne was also replaced as chairman and CEO of Ferrari and chairman of tractor maker CNH Industrial — both spun off from Fiat Chrysler in recent years.

Reuters

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