Fiat Chrysler names new CEO to replace ailing Marchionne

"The board of directors of FCA, meeting today [Saturday], firstly expressed its closeness to Sergio Marchionne and his family and underlined the extraordinary contribution, both human and professional, that he has made to the company in these years".

Sergio Marchionne was replaced as chief executive of Fiat Chrysler (FCA) on Saturday by the head of the firm's Jeep division, Mike Manley, after the health of the carmaker's long-time boss deteriorated sharply following surgery.

Logical candidates to his succession at Maranello include Ferrari board member and former Philip Morris chairman Louis Carey Camilleri as CEO, and Fiat heir John Elkann as President.

As its Chairman and CEO, Marchionne has been the man also guiding Ferrari's destiny since 2014, as well as the very determined and vocal representative of the Scuderia in its active negotiations with Formula 1 to format the sport's 2021 regulations.

The La Stampa daily, the hometown newspaper of Fiat's headquarters city, Turin, where the boards were summoned to separate meetings, said the huddles were called to discuss who would succeed Marchionne.

"It has been my privilege to have had Sergio at my side for all these years". He was also a vocal and influential figure in F1 politics during his time as Ferrari's CEO.

The company said in a statement that "unexpected complications arose while Mr. Marchionne was recovering from surgery and that these have worsened significantly in recent hours". As a effect, Mr. Marchionne will be unable to return to work.

In a statement, Mr Elkann said he was "profoundly saddened" by the situation.

"The Board resolved to accelerate the CEO transition process that has been proceeding over the past months".

The FCA Group recently unveiled its five-year business plan running until 2022, focusing on the Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Jeep and Ram brands.

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