Services in Auburn Hills, Italy announced for Marchionne
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will hold memorial services for late CEO Sergio Marchionne in Italy and Auburn Hills in September, according to the automaker.
Marchionne died July 25. He was 66.
The Italian service will be held at Turin Cathedral near Fiat Chrysler's Italian headquarters at 11 a.m. Sept. 14. That service will be open to the public.
The Auburn Hills services will be Sept. 27 at Fiat Chrysler's U.S. headquarters in Auburn Hills. A spokesperson said the company continues to work through details on those services.
Fiat Chrysler has not revealed a cause of death for Marchionne, who had been hospitalized following surgery in Zurich. The automaker made an emergency appointment of Mike Manley to CEO on July 21, announcing then that Marchionne was critically ill.
According to the Swiss hospital that treated him, Marchionne was seriously ill for more than a year before his death. Fiat Chrysler has said the company was unaware of serious health problems until July 20.
Citing anonymous sources, Italian business website Lettera43 reported that Marchionne had been diagnosed long ago with invasive shoulder sarcoma, a type of cancer that develops in the bones and connective tissues. During surgery on his shoulder, according to the report, the former CEO had a stroke and was in a coma with irreversible brain damage.
Marchionne, known for his rumpled sweaters and nonstop work habits, was one of the longest-serving CEOs in the auto industry. He was appointed in 2004 as the fifth Fiat chief in a two-year period. He managed to return the carmaker to profit in 2005 by cutting costs, laying off workers and then looking for a partner. The company had lost more than 6 billion euros ($7.04 billion) in 2003.
With the acquisition of Chrysler in 2014, completing a five-year process, he gave Fiat the global scale needed to survive. Still, as the world’s seventh-largest automaker, the company may lack the size it needs to compete in an industry being reinvented by the emergence of autonomous driving and electrification.
Marchionne led a 14-year turnaround of the company. In his time as CEO, he saved both of the namesake brands from oblivion, ushered Chrysler from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, revived Alfa Romeo in the United States and is expected to slash net industrial debt to zero.
Marchionne said in early June while laying out the road map for the future of the company that his mission at the company was complete, and his successor would inherit a plan already in motion to make FCA the most profitable automaker in the U.S. by 2022.
Those plans include efforts to leverage the highly profitable Jeep and Ram brands in the U.S. and abroad with higher-margin products that fill holes in their respective portfolios.
FCA plans to deploy some $52.5 billion (45 billion euros) in capital expenditure over the next five years to achieve its 2022 goals.
Marchionne’s last public appearance was June 26, when he spoke at an event in Rome. The company said on July 5 that the CEO underwent an operation on his right shoulder and was expected to require “a short period of convalescence.”
In recent months, he was preparing to slow down but wanted first to complete the five-year plan to rid the carmaker of industrial debt, making it financially stronger and able to survive the next downturn.