Former Ferrari chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne has died at the age of 66.
Marchionne’s ill-health was thrust into the spotlight last Saturday when it was announced he would be unable to return to work as a result of complications following surgery. Replaced as CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) as well as his Ferrari positions at the weekend, a statement issued by Exor — holding company for the Agnelli family — today announced Marchionne’s passing.
“Unfortunately, what we feared has come to pass. Sergio Marchionne, man and friend, is gone,” FCA chairman John Elkann said. “I believe that 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.
“My family and I will be forever grateful for what he has done. Our thoughts are with Manuela, and his sons Alessio and Tyler. I would ask again everyone to respect the privacy of Sergio’s family.”
Born in the Abruzzo region of post-war Italy, Marchionne moved with his family to Toronto at the age of 14 and became educated in business administration in Canada. As his professional life progressed, Marchionne returned to Europe where his success in restructuring ailing companies saw him tasked with turning around Fiat.
As Fiat CEO, Marchionne drastically improved the Italian automaker’s fortunes and in 2009 it was able to acquire a 20% stake in Chrysler, where Marchionne also became CEO.
The two companies merged in 2014, leading the Italian-Canadian to become CEO of FCA, and later that year he was named chairman and CEO of Ferrari, taking over from Luca di Montezemolo who had held the role of president since 1991.
Under Marchionne — who replaced Marco Mattiacci with Maurizio Arrivabene as team principal — Ferrari has also seen a strong increase in performance since 2014, winning multiple races and challenging for the championship in the current campaign.
This year also saw the Alfa Romeo brand return to F1 as part of Marchionne’s vision to get the Italian manufacturer even greater global exposure and drive profits for FCA.
Marchionne played a key role in negotiations shaping the future of Formula 1, and threatened to pull Ferrari out of the sport on more than one occasion. As his health deteriorated, on Saturday he was replaced as Ferrari president by Elkann, with Louis C. Camilleri set to be officially appointed CEO.