The health of Sergio Marchionne, long-time boss of carmaker Fiat Chrysler (FCA), worsened on Saturday and he has been replaced as chief executive by Mike Manley, the head of the firm`s Jeep division, FCA said in a statement.
"FCA communicates with profound sorrow that during the course of this week unexpected complications arose while Mr Marchionne was recovering from surgery and that these have worsened significantly in recent hours," the statement said.
FCA said British-born Manley, who will also take on the responsibilities for the North America region, would proceed with the implementation of a strategy outlined by Marchionne last month that would assure the company a "strong and independent future".
The boards of Ferrari, were Marchionne is both chairman and CEO, and CNH Industrial, the truck and tractor maker he also chairs, were also meeting on Saturday and might name his successors shortly, two sources familiar with the matter said.
Marchionne, credited with rescuing Fiat and Chrysler from bankruptcy since taking the wheel at the Italian carmaker in 2004, had been due to step down from the combined group next April. FCA said this month that Marchionne had undergone shoulder surgery and was in recovery, but then his situation deteriorated.
"It is a situation that was unthinkable until a few hours ago, and one that leaves us all with a real sense of injustice," Chairman John Elkann said.
Marchionne, who has been described as a workaholic by people working with him, suggested last year that his duties could be shared by several executives, saying: "My job is not easy."
At luxury carmaker Ferrari, spun off by FCA in 2016, board member Louis Camilleri is now likely to step in as chief executive, one source said. Marchionne had previously said he planned to stay on as Ferrari Chairman and CEO until 2021.
Camilleri`s likely appointment was first reported by Automotive News, which also said FCA Chairman and Agnelli family scion John Elkann would be Ferrari`s new chairman. The Agnelli family still controls all three companies.
Ferrari and CNH are expected to issue separate statements.
On Friday, FCA denied a report by Italian website Lettera43 that Elkann had summoned top executives to a meeting on Saturday in order to reassign Marchionne`s responsibilities.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)