Sergio Marchionne was replaced as chief executive of Fiat Chrysler (FCA) on Saturday by the head of the firm's Jeep division, Mike Manley, after the health of the carmaker's long-time boss deteriorated sharply following surgery.
With Marchionne already due to step down next year, the board said it has "resolved to accelerate the CEO transition process" by naming Briton Manley as the Group's new CEO.
Marchionne had shoulder surgery three weeks ago, and his recovery is taking longer than expected because of unexpected complications, according to a statement from the company.
Marchionne, an Italian-Canadian, joined Fiat in 2004 and led the Turin-based company's merger with bankrupt USA carmaker Chrysler as well as the spin-off of luxury sports auto maker Ferrari.
A statement from Ferrari confirmed that John Elkann would take over as chairman, with a recommendation that Louis C. Camilleri be named as CEO.
Marchionne will be unable to return to work.
Known for sleeping only briefly each night, Marchionne, who is also a lawyer, was holding multiple leadership roles in the companies, notably as CEO of FCA - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, as well as CEO and chairman of Ferrrari. "Mr. Manley and his management team will proceed with the implementation of the 2018 - 2022 Business Plan as presented on 1 June this year, a plan that will further assure FCA's strong and independent future".
Elkann called for Marchionne and his family's privacy to be respected and described working with the Italian-Canadian businessman a "privilege". My first thoughts go to Sergio and his family.
"It has been my privilege to have had Sergio at my side for all these years". He asked everyone to respect Marchionne's "privacy and that of all those who are dear to him".