Marchionne leaves Ferrari due to poor health

Fiat Chrysler chief Marchionne set to be replaced following health issue

"It is a situation that was unthinkable until a few hours ago, and one that leaves us all with a real sense of injustice".

"The Board of Directors of FCA, meeting today, firstly expressed its closeness to Sergio Marchionne and his family and underlined the extraordinary contribution, both human and professional, that he has made to the Company in these years".

FCA's board of directors met today to accelerate the CEO transition process in response to the news of Marchionne's health complications.

Marchionne had planned to retire as CEO of FCA in 2019, but continue as head of Ferrari until 2021.

His imminent departure will be a blow too for FCA, Marchionne having saved Fiat from near-collapse in the mid-2000s and subsequently being the driving force behind the acquisition of Chrysler.

The announcement, at the end of an urgently convened board meeting, marked the end of the Marchionne era, which included the turnaround of failing Fiat, the takeover of bankrupt US automaker Chrysler and the spinoffs of the heavy machinery and truck maker CNH and supercar maker Ferrari. Former Philip Morris chairman Louis Camilleri is set to take over as Ferrari CEO in the coming days pending shareholder approval.

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Marchionne's duties at FCA will be assumed by Mike Manley, who had been running FCA's Jeep division.

Kent-born Manley joined DaimlerChrysler in 2000, taking over as boss of Jeep in 2009.

Marchionne helped navigate FCA through bankruptcy during his 14-year tenure and turn the company's finances back from the brink of collapse.

"It has been my privilege to have had Sergio at my side for all these years", Elkann said in asking for respect for Marchionne's privacy at this time.

A company statement said the decision was made at an urgently convened board meeting Saturday because Marchionne's health had suddenly deteriorated following recent surgery and he "will be unable to return to work". Marchionne managed to take two ailing companies and return them to profitability.

"In an emergency meeting called after Marchionne's health worsened, the Ferrari board also named John Elkann as chairman and gave Camilleri powers to oversee the company's operations", Reuters reported.

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