Italy lost one of its most prominent corporate leaders on Wednesday.
Sergio Marchionne, 66, took charge of FIAT in 2009, leading it from the brink of bankruptcy to global expansion, through a global economic crisis. Although he was not part of the family that historically owns FIAT, the Agnellis, he took charge of the iconic brand and led a comeback to international competitiveness.
With a portfolio of international brands such as Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Maserati, Jeep and Ram, the company is a global player with 236,000 employees, registered in the Netherlands and listed in London.
The Agnellis, the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Matarella, prime minister Giuseppe Conte, the world of business and politics paid tribute to the industry leader. Silvio Berlusconi had hoped that Marchionne would eventually take the lead of the centre-right in Italy, as no one doubted his political acumen and he commanded the respect of his friends and his foes.
Even the leftwing CGIL union paid its respects to the corporate leader, with whom there were mass encounters, recognizing in him an “excellent organizer.”
FIAT has now taken over Chrysler is the world’s seventh biggest car maker. Marchionne leaves a company in a new crisis, with FIAT profits down by 35% in the second quarter of 2018.