Sergio Marchionne

Sergio Marchionne dies aged 66

2018 F1 season

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Sergio Marchionne, the former chairman and CEO of Ferrari who stood down last week due to ill health, has died.

The 66-year-old became a giant of the automotive industry by reviving the fortune of Italian manufacturer Fiat and taking over American brand Chrysler. In the last four years he became more deeply involved with the running of the Ferrari Formula 1 team, restoring it to competitiveness.

Marchionne was born in Chieti, Italy, but his family immigrated to Toronto, Canada when he was 14. After studying business, commerce and philosophy he initially worked as an accountant and rose to become CEO of Swiss international packaging and aluminium company Algroup in 1997. Six years later he joined the board of Ferrari owner Fiat.

In 2006 Marchionne was appointed CEO of the struggling Fiat Group, which was losing billions at the time. He restructured the company and returned it to profitability, then rescued Chrysler from bankruptcy in 2009.

By 2014 the future of Fiat’s luxury car brand Ferrari had become a greater concern. Luca di Montezemolo, who had been the team’s chairman for 23 years, was ousted to make way for Marchionne in October 2014.

The following year the company was floated on the New York Stock Exchange. The F1 team’s fortunes improve too: the 2017 season was the first time for five years in which it was serious championship contender, though Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton ultimately took both titles.

It began 2018 in even more competitive shape. At the time of Marchionne’s enforced departure last Saturday it was leading the constructors’ championship and Sebastian Vettel was ahead in the drivers’ points standings.

Marchionne also took a firm position on Ferrari’s negotiations with F1 owners Liberty Media over its future in the sport beyond 2020. Marchionne threatened to pull Ferrari out of the championship if he did not agree with their future plans.

Marchionne’s death was confirmed on Wednesday by John Elkann, the chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, who succeeded him as Ferrari chairman.

Today’s RacingLines column on the future of Ferrari has been postponed to tomorrow in light of this very sad news. Our condolences go to Marchionne’s family, friends and colleagues.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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53 comments on “Sergio Marchionne dies aged 66”

  1. Toto no golf
    25th July 2018, 11:40

    Sad. Rest In Peace. They just announced it less than an hour ago. What is going to happen in the near future with Ferrari and Sauber or Alfa Romeo. He was the one that allowed Alfa Romeo to return to f1.

  2. Sad news. RIP.
    IMO he did a lot of good for Ferrari, and consequently F1, and also for FIAT and Chrysler.

  3. My condolences to Ferrari and Mr Machionne’s family.
    @keithcollantine I take issue with the choice of words “standing down”. To “stand down” requires a consious decision. He was in a coma, therefore couldn’t make any decision. He was replaced.

    1. I think that he stood down from those posts. As a conscious decisions before the ordeal.

      If the operation was, as it has been reported, intended to remove a skin tumor then the prospect of cancer treatment, and the consequences on his responsibilities, must have been put into consideration and decided at some time prior to his passing.

  4. Rest in Peace.

  5. Very saddened to hear of the passing of Sergio Marchionne. Thoughts with his family and friends.

  6. Oh Wow. Life is fleeting. Enjoy it now peeps because it can pass you by when you aren’t ready for it. Even 1 day ago this didn’t seem possible.

    I knew little about Marchionne apart from the basic level media stories of his accomplishments before F1. However, since he arrived, Ferrari has seen a renaissance. It’s hard to accredit that to anyone other than him and Arrivabene (Who was his appointment). Leadership comes from the top and he seemed to have the goods in that regards.

    Look after yourself people. Life is short so enjoy it.

  7. #ForzaSergio

  8. Hopefully Ferrari will get a 1-2 this weekend in Hungary just in his honour as this will not only mean a lot to the team, but to the Tifosi as well.

    1. That happened at the Italian GP after strait Ferrari himself died. It was very appropriate.

    2. It’s Hungary 2015 all over again.

    3. Well, performance wise red bull should be there, so I wouldn’t count on it, then anything can happen with some rain or mistakes or mechanical problems ofc.

    4. @johnrkh @ernietheracefan That is correct, they do have a history of performing at races like these in memory of someone.

      @esploratore Well the weather report is saying sunshine for the entire weekend, so I think Red Bull will be favorites but i wouldn’t count out the Ferrari’s since they are the team to beat right now on pace.

  9. Tragic news. Remarkable work.
    Sergio, with your decisions and strategic vision, you have been able to put Ferrari against all opinions and in a short time, on a plateau where the path to the F1 world title is a strong possibility. Like Tiffossi, I will be eternally grateful for the delivery and work done. My sincerest condolences to your family, and rest in peace.
    Forza Scuderia Ferrari, let us be able to overcome this moment and continue the excellent work developed, concretizing it in the conquest of many titles.

  10. Vettel fan 17 (@)
    25th July 2018, 12:47

    Wow, I didn’t expect that, I thought he just had an injury, nothing life threatening. Rest in peace Sergio, you won’t be forgotten

  11. That’s an impressive resume. RIP and thoughts to his family and friends.

  12. Very sad news.

  13. I liked the guy. I’d say RIP, but he didn’t seem like a resting kind.

    What happend to him?

    1. Yes his passing has been on the news here in Toronto, not just because of his impressive and significant career but because of his moving to Toronto at 14 and getting his education here. They’ve been saying complications from shoulder surgery. Very sad.

    2. Apparently complications following a surgery on a shoulder.

      1. To add to this, supposedly the surgery was to remove cancerous tissue.

      2. @Zim @rpiian unbelievable, considering state of the art medical services he might have used.

        @johnmilk Yeah. Like I said I liked the guy. :'(

    3. Of all the messages I’ve seen from fans around let me tell you @jureo, for some kind yours brought a tear to my eye. Inded he wasn’t of the resting kind…

      His legacy will live on

  14. Condolences to those close to him.

    I wonder what Ferrari will do in tribute. Probably some message and black nosecones or something.

  15. Marchionne will go down automotive history as one of its greatest captains. What he achieve with Fiat was nothing short of a miracle.

    1. Perhaps the greatest manager of last 50 years so far. Who did acheive such results on changing destiny of two big industries, on same time window, from bankruptcy to revenue makers? A Leader, a superior mind indeed. World miss people like him. RIP.

      1. Yes. An amazing comeback story he authored. Sad day for F1 and Ferrari.

  16. Another legend (perhaps the last?) of the car industry gone. R. I. P. What happens now to Raikkonen?

  17. One of those rare people that can go into a company and turn it around on will alone. Although he cost many people jobs, by restructuring and acquisitions, he created many more, and saved not only Fiat, but Chrysler as well. He was a huge Ferrari fan, and had no problem spending on the team, where most bean counting CEO’s would have made cuts. He will be sorely missed and I hope the Scuderia pays him the well deserved tribute he so rightly deserves.

  18. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    25th July 2018, 13:37

    RIP. This was very quick from the moment he stepped down. It seemed like yesterday that he was talking about Ferrari’s role in F1 and was appearing at F1 races.

    1. He didn’t step down. He was in coma. He was displaced by board of directors on Sunday.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        25th July 2018, 17:02

        @regs – thank you, I just read that he had a stroke during shoulder surgery to remove cancer and was put into a coma with irreversible brain damage. Very sad, thoughts and prayers with his family.

        I imagine that will cast a cloud over Ferrari this weekend but, hopefully, they can find a victory. I’d love to see some fitting tribute from Ferrari and Alfa Romeo, the brand he revived.

  19. Rest in Peace

  20. RIP Sergio. Perhaps I should be more updated with what’s happening around me. I really wasn’t aware he was in a coma. I just thought he was being replaced for some reason. And now this news is out of the blue.

    1. @pt Don’t feel bad – the news was short of hushed up, my guess for business reasons. The media only picked up on it via Lettera43 (who have FCA insiders, according to JS) about a day ago.

  21. I’m very saddened by the passing of the great Sergio. As a Ferrari fan, I can never thank him enough for all the efforts deployed all these years and especially the last four years that helped to bring back the Scuderia from dark years into the light. Grazie di tutto Presidente…. RIP

  22. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
    25th July 2018, 14:36

    I don’t think any true F1 fan would not be touched to see Ferrari seal the titles this year after this news, very sad, it was only a few races ago he was in the paddock cracking the whip.


  23. Condolences to Mr. Marchionne’s family and friends.

  24. Wow, very sad news!

    Rest in Peace

  25. Such sad news. He was a truly remarkable man and will be sorely missed. Thoughts and prayers go out to those that were close to him.

  26. Rest well, sir.

  27. Rest In Peace, brilliant leader and seemed to have Ferrari going in the right direction after a decade of going nowhere, will be sadly missed.

  28. This is really sad news. I knew he was replaced because of health issues last weekend but I didn’t know it was this bad.

    A black day for Ferrari and F1

  29. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
    25th July 2018, 19:03

    This will probably be the only time I support Ferrari in a race weekend. Very sudden.

  30. The man had so much energy and gave Ferrari a new purpose is just so sad to see him depart so suddenly.
    Rest in peace.

  31. Extremely sad news. A great leader if there ever was one. And even though he famously said “I’m never on holiday” I just want to say RIP great man! You’ve earned it. Condolences to the family

  32. Cause of death?
    “MILAN (AP) — The Latest on the death of Fiat Chrysler’s former CEO, Sergio Marchionne (all times local): 4:50 p.m. The news agency ANSA is reporting that the cause of death of Fiat Chrysler automobile’s founding CEO, Sergio Marchionne, was cardiac arrest. ANSA reported Wednesday that Marchionne suffered cardiac arrest while recovering from surgery to his right shoulder in a Zurich hospital, which landed him in intensive care, where he later suffered a second, fatal cardiac arrest. It did not give the timing of any of the cardiac events.”

    I have not seen an online source that states cancer was a cause of death. One report said this: “Fueled by a dozen espressos a day and packs of Muratti cigarettes…” He apparently operated on a 24/7 schedule calling other managers in the middle of the night for opinions and information. His wife is reportedly estranged. It sure does sound like a person who drove himself to an early grave. A number of things can cause cardiac arrest, but heart disease is certainly one cause, and both stress and smoking can promote heart disease. The shoulder? I’ve never heard of “shoulder cancer” but a cardiac pacemaker is inserted near the left shoulder. It isn’t usually a risky surgical procedure, but a lot of people don’t find out how bad their heart is until it’s way too late, especially if they are “too busy” to get proper medical care. If he was such a heavy smoker, any cancer would probably be in his lungs. We may never know all of the true facts, but if you’re a hard driver and a heavy smoker, you should think about where you’re heading.

  33. Paul Schofield
    25th July 2018, 22:06

    So what can you say – enough life while you can. I don’t expect he wanted to be working up.til his last conscious day, but he did!!! Carpe Diem

  34. Rest in peace Sergio

  35. RIP Sergio. This marks a sad day for the motorsport world. He seems like he was a very determined, controversial but ultimately successful character. He achieved a lot for Ferrari.

    It will be interesting to see how his death effects Ferrrari’s decisions on their driver line up for 2019 and their ongoing negotiations on the future Concord agreement. Mr Marchione took a tough approach on their behalf so we will see in the coming months if this will soften.

  36. Sorry for the spelling mistake. Marchione!

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