Ferrari chairman and chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne has stepped down from his roles due to ill health, the company has announced.
The 66-year-old, who was due to depart the company in April next year, has been on leave following surgery on his shoulder last month. However the company said in a statement on Saturday it has “learned with deep sadness” that Marchionne “will be unable to return to work.”
“The board’s thoughts are with Sergio Marchionne and his family and it is grateful for the extraordinary contribution he has made in recent years at the helm of Ferrari,” it added.
This was alluded to in a further statement from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: “With reference to the health of Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. communicates with profound sorrow that during the course of this week unexpected complications arose while Mr Marchionne was recovering from surgery and that these have worsened significantly in recent hours.
Ferrari has named John Elkann as its new chairman and Louis Carey Camilleri as CEO.
Elkann is the grandson of former Fiat president Gianni Agnelli and CEO of the Agnelli/Elkann-owned holding company Exor, which owns Ferrari. Elkann said he was “profoundly saddened to learn of Sergio’s state of health.”
“It is a situation that was unthinkable until a few hours ago, and one that leaves us all with a real sense of injustice,” he added. “My first thoughts go to Sergio and his family.”
Camilleri, 63, is a former chairman of Philip Morris International, Ferrari’s main sponsor and producer of the Marlboro cigarette brand. Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene was previously a vice-president at PMI.
Camilleri has also been entrusted with “the necessary powers to ensure continuity of the company’s operation”, Ferrari added.
Marchionne, who has run the Fiat-Chrysler Group since 2004, took over from Luca di Montezemolo as Ferrari chairman in October 2014. Since that win-less season the F1 team has become increasingly competitive. Sebastian Vettel challenged Lewis Hamilton for the drivers’ championship last year. Vettel is leading the drivers’ championship and Ferrari are ahead in the constructors’ championship too.
Under Marchionne the Alfa Romeo brand, which like Ferrari is also owned by Fiat Chrysler, returned to Formula 1 this year as Sauber’s title sponsor.
He has also played a significant role in ongoing discussions with Formula 1 owners Liberty Media. Marchionne threatened to pull Ferrari out of the sport if he did not agree with Liberty Media’s plans for the championship after 2020.
Elkann said it has “been my privilege to have had Sergio at my side for all these years.”
“I would ask everyone for their understanding in these circumstances and to respect Sergio’s privacy and that of those who are dear to him.”
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