New Fiat Chrysler boss must deliver Marchionne plan

Ailing Marchionne replaced by Elkann as Ferrari chairman			Image by Sam Bloxham  LAT

Fiat Chrysler shares were volatile Monday as investors expressed worry about the exit of ailing CEO Sergio Marchionne, whose driven and creative management style has been the company's fortune.

Sergio Marchionne's achievements as one of the automotive world's most charismatic chief executives include the bold trans-Atlantic merger of Italian carmaker Fiat and U.S. No. 3 Chrysler after he restored both to health.

Marchionne had also been very vocal about Ferrari's future involvement in F1, threatening to withdraw the team on numerous occasions due to the proposed regulation changes for the 2021 season not meeting with Ferrari's liking.

LOUIS CAMILLERI The new Ferrari CEO was already a board member at the luxury sportscar maker before his latest appointment.

The announcement, at the end of an urgently convened board meeting, marked the end of the Marchionne era, which included the turnaround of failing Fiat, the takeover of bankrupt US automaker Chrysler and the spinoffs of the heavy machinery and truck maker CNH and supercar maker Ferrari.

Fiat Chrysler's board on Saturday named the head of the company's Jeep division, Mike Manley, as CEO and said Marchionne would not return after complications from a surgical procedure earlier this month.

Marchionne's tenure also has been controversial at times.

As part of his efforts to revamp Ferrari, Marchionne focused heavily on Formula One, arguing that more prestige for the racing side would increase the carmaker's value.

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The Board resolved to accelerate the CEO transition process that has been proceeding over the past months and named Mike Manley as CEO.

Tokyo-based auto analyst, Anindya Das, called Manley "a natural choice" to replace Marchionne as "Manley has been heading FCA's main profit and growth engine Jeep since 2009".

Marchionne had been due to retire early next year and had been widely credited for rescuing Fiat from the brink of collapse in 2004 and transforming Chrysler into a profitable venture following its acquisition in 2009. While the board had given Manley all the powers of CEO "with immediate effect", the move will need to be approved by a meeting of shareholders.

From 2015, he also led Ram, producing big pick-ups and vans under the Chrysler badge after it and Fiat had merged in 2014.

Another position vacated by Marchionne was as Chairman of truck and tractor maker CNH Industrials.

He meant to step down from his role as CEO in April next year, and he laid out a plan for FCA to become the United State's most profitable automaker over the next five years.

It has been my privilege to have had Sergio at my side for all these years.

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