ROME – The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles board of directors chose Mike Manley to replace Sergio Marchionne as CEO on Saturday.
According to the automaker, Marchionne had surgery earlier this week and complications arose. As a result, he cannot return to work.
The board will propose at its next shareholder Meeting that Jeep executive Manley serve as the company's executive director. For operational continuity, the board granted Manley all CEO powers Saturday, and he will assume responsibility for the NAFTA region.
Business editor Rod Meloni said Marchionne was the "workhorse's workhorse" who went "7 days a week."
Marchionne, 66, had several roles at the company and planned to retire in 2019, but a recent surgery led to a sooner-than-expected leave.
"The notion that he would be this sick frankly at this young age is startling," Meloni said. "Nobody saw this coming you wouldn't expect that to happen and it's actually very sad."
Meloni credits Marchionne for being a strong CEO.
"He took two car companies that were in really bad shape fiat when he got it," Meloni said. "FIAT was all but gone and he turned that around and then he came here and he got Chrysler and he turned that around in a fashion that no one could have expected."
Meloni said Manley was expected to be named the replacement in 2019 and will be a good successor.
"Mike Manley's in charge of RAM, he's in charge of Jeep, he's been around and he's done a very good job with those brands," Meloni said.