Former Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne had reportedly been undergoing treatment for an illness a year before his death

Bill Pugliano/Getty ImagesThe late Sergio Marchionne.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported a statement from University Hospital Zurich saying that former FCA and FerrariCEO Sergio Marchionne had been undergoing treatment for an unspecified “serious illness” before dying on Wednesday.
  • It was initially reported that Marchionne was suffering from complications following shoulder surgery.
  • In a statement, FCA said that last week “it was made aware with no detail by Mr. Marchionne’s family of the serious deterioration in Mr. Marchionne’s condition.”
  • He had planned to retire as FCA CEO in 2019, but to stay on at Ferrari until 2021.

Former Fiat Chrysler and Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne died on Wednesday after complications from shoulder surgery.

The boards of both carmakers held hurried meetings this past weekend to choose his replacement, when it became apparent that his condition had worsened. Initially, it was reported that the 66-year-old had encountered complications from his operation that led to a coma, but various Italian outlets reported that he had been suffering from a more severe condition.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the hospital in Switzerland where Marchionne died issued a statement saying that “[d]ue to serious illness, he had been the recipient of recurring treatment for more than a year.”

“Although all the options offered by cutting-edge medicine were utilised, Mr. Marchionne unfortunately passed away,” University Hospital Zurich added. It didn’t specify the nature of Marchionne’s illness, but said it had issued the statement to avoid speculation.

Marchionne was a hard-charging, workaholic executive who led turnarounds at both Fiat and Chrysler. Prior to the news of his illness, he had planned to continue as CEO of FCA until his retirement in 2019 and as CEO of Ferrari until 2021.

In a statement emailed to Business Insider, an FCA spokesperson said, “FCA is not in a position to comment on statements made by University Hospital Zurich. Due to medical privacy, the Company had no knowledge of the facts relating to Mr. Marchionne’s health.”

The spokesperson added that it “was made aware that Mr. Marchionne had undergone shoulder surgery and released a statement about this.”

“On Friday July 20, the Company was made aware with no detail by Mr. Marchionne’s family of the serious deterioration in Mr. Marchionne’s condition and that as a result he would be unable to return to work. The Company promptly took and announced the appropriate action the following day.”

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