‘Bold and creative, Sergio Marchionne will be sorely missed’

After his feats with Fiat and Chrysler, the car industry will miss Sergio Marchionne’s ingenuity, writes Jonathan Burn…

The automotive industry has lost one of its most respected and tenacious car chiefs. Last week Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced that its chief executive Sergio Marchionne had passed away following complications that occurred during surgery.

The 66-year-old (above) was due to step down from the role next spring, marking what have been almost 15 years at the head of one of the world’s largest car makers. However, it is without question that the company Marchionne leaves behind is far leaner, fitter and more relevant than the one he took charge of in 2004.

Opinion: following Marchionne will be a tough task

He brought the Fiat Group back from the brink of bankruptcy and became a figurehead in the industry through his bold, creative and determined attitude. He was publicly critical about his own products as well as those from rival brands, which meant an audience with Marchionne was never dull. He had a special relationship with the media; his outspoken but humorous approach added colour to an industry often very black or white.

During his time at the helm of FCA, his boldest decision was 2009’s takeover of the Chrysler Group. Since then, FCA has blossomed into a car industry powerhouse. Only two months ago Marchionne outlined FCA’s ambitious five-year product plan and proudly announced it was finally debt free.

Of course, FCA’s revival wasn’t orchestrated by Marchionne alone; the man who has taken over as CEO, Mike Manley, who was brought up in Bedfordshire, has also played a pivotal role in helping reshape the company. But it’s difficult to imagine FCA would find itself in the position it is today if it wasn’t for the guidance and intelligence of Marchionne. He will be sorely missed by all.

Ferrari went from strength to strength under Marchionne: check out our reviews of their best models

Recommended

'It's clear that lorry drivers deserve much-improved working conditions'
Truck
Opinion

'It's clear that lorry drivers deserve much-improved working conditions'

Mike Rutherford proposes some alternative options to help streamline British imports and exports
23 Jan 2021
'Gordon Murray is my British motor industry person of 2020'
Opinion

'Gordon Murray is my British motor industry person of 2020'

Mike Rutherford highlights his positive car industry stories of 2020
4 Jan 2021
'Citroen has changed the game and changed the lives of countless consumers'
Opinion

'Citroen has changed the game and changed the lives of countless consumers'

Mike Rutherford thinks the quirky new Citroen Ami is a true game-changing car
13 Dec 2020
'Power outages do nothing to inspire confidence in would-be EV buyers'
Opinion

'Power outages do nothing to inspire confidence in would-be EV buyers'

Mike Rutherford thinks the switch to an all-electric UK car market hasn't been thought through
29 Nov 2020

Most Popular

New 2021 Volvo C40 joins brand’s electric car line-up
Volvo C40 - front
Volvo C40

New 2021 Volvo C40 joins brand’s electric car line-up

The new Volvo C40 Recharge will take on electric car rivals such as the Tesla Model 3 and forthcoming Audi Q4 e-tron
2 Mar 2021
'Genesis’s aim is to lure Jaguar Land Rover customers'
Genesis
Opinion

'Genesis’s aim is to lure Jaguar Land Rover customers'

Mike Rutherford thinks luxury brand Genesis could take sales away from Jaguar Land Rover when it lands in the UK
1 Mar 2021
Nissan Re-Leaf: the electric car with an emergency power bank
Nissan Re-Leaf - header
Nissan Leaf

Nissan Re-Leaf: the electric car with an emergency power bank

The Nissan Re-Leaf concept shows how a family EV could power disaster-relief operations
1 Mar 2021