FCA board prepares to discuss succession during Marchionne's medical leave
TURIN -- Directors of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will meet Saturday to discuss succession plans for CEO Sergio Marchionne, who is on medical leave, a person with knowledge of the matter told Automotive News Europe.
In addition, Marchionne’s successor as chairman and CEO of Ferrari NV will be addressed during a separate Saturday meeting of the sports car maker’s board. Louis Carey Camilleri, a Ferrari board member and former chairman of Philip Morris International, will be Ferrari's CEO, another person said. The new chairman will be John Elkann, the controlling shareholder of Ferrari and FCA, the second person said.
Bloomberg reported Saturday that Marchionne will not return to his CEO roles at FCA or Ferrari.
The meetings come as Marchionne, 66, recovers from surgery while preparing for a scheduled retirement early next year. Marchionne had surgery on his right shoulder and needs a short period of convalescence, an FCA spokesman told Italian business website Lettera 43 on July 5.
A premature departure for Marchionne could be a significant blow to Fiat Chrysler. The executive saved Fiat from potential collapse in the mid-2000s and later engineered its acquisition of Chrysler, which likely wouldn’t have received U.S. government backing for its 2009 bankruptcy without the involvement of the Italian partner.
CFO Richard Palmer -- seen by some investors as a leading contender for the CEO job -- probably will lead the conference call, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg earlier.
An FCA spokeswoman declined to comment on the FCA board meeting. Ferrari spokesman Stefano Lai, reached late Friday, declined to comment.
Bloomberg News reported on the FCA meeting earlier Friday, citing people familiar with the plan.
Marchionne's last known public appearance was in Rome on June 26, when he delivered a Jeep Wrangler to the Carabinieri police.
Marchionne likely will miss the FCA’s announcement of its second-quarter earnings on July 25, Lettera 43 said. Marchionne has chaired FCA’s quarterly earnings calls since he was appointed CEO of Fiat SpA – the predecessor to FCA – on June 1, 2004.
In addition to his roles at Ferrari and FCA, Marchionne is chairman of agricultural and construction equipment maker CNH Industrial and nonexecutive vice chairman of Exor, the Elkann-Agnelli family financial holding company.
Bloomberg's sources said CNH Industrial’s board is also expected to meet Saturday to name a replacement for Marchionne.
Bloomberg contributed to this report.