Marchionne in 2007
June 17, 1952|
University of Toronto|
University of Windsor
CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and FCA Italy S.p.A |
Chairman and CEO of Chrysler Group LLC
Chairman of Fiat Industrial S.p.A. and CNH
Chairman of Swiss-based SGS
Chairman and CEO of Ferrari
Sergio Marchionne (Italian: [ˈsɛrdʒo marˈkjɔnne]; born June 17, 1952) is an Italian-Canadian executive who is currently the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the Chairman of CNH Industrial and the CEO of Ferrari. Additionally, he is the Chairman of Swiss-based SGS and was the non-executive Vice Chairman of the Board of the global banking group UBS from 2008 to 2010, as well as the elected Chairman of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association for 2012 (first elected in January 2006). He is also a member of the Peterson Institute for International Economics as well as Chairman of the Italian Branch of the Council for the United States and Italy.
Marchionne is widely recognized for turning around Fiat Group to become one of the fastest growing companies in the auto industry, returning it to profitability in 2006 less than two years after taking the helm. In 2009, he was instrumental in Fiat Group forming a strategic alliance with the ailing US automaker Chrysler, with the support of the US and Canadian governments and trade unions. Less than two years later, following its emergence from Chapter 11, Chrysler returned to profitability, repaying all government loans. In 2014, Fiat and Chrysler merged into a new holding company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, now the seventh-largest automobile manufacturer in the world.
In addition to returning Fiat to financial health, Marchionne has also been a major figure in favor of change in industrial relations in Italy, with the model established at several group plants precipitating a shift (including legislative) toward the practice of regional and local bargaining over the traditional model of national agreements.
Life and career
Marchionne was born in Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy, the son of Concezio Marchionne, from Cugnoli (also in Abruzzo), and Maria Zuccon from Carnizza (today Krnica, Croatia) near Labin in Istria. His father served as a carabiniere in Istria, where he met his future wife. Marchionne's grandfather, Giacomo Zuccon, was killed in September 1943 by Yugoslav Partisans near Barban in Istria, while his uncle Giuseppe Zuccon was killed by the Nazis the same year. In 1945, when the region was occupied by the Yugoslav army, Marchionne's parents moved to Chieti in Abruzzo, where Sergio was born.
At age 13, Marchionne emigrated with his family to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where they had relatives. As a result, he has dual Canadian and Italian citizenship and speaks fluent English and Italian. He is a Canadian Certified General Accountant (FCGA), barrister, and a fellow of the Certified General Accountants of Ontario.
He attended the prestigious St. Michael's College School, before moving on to complete his undergraduate studies in philosophy at the University of Toronto and then earning a Bachelor of Commerce in 1979 and an MBA in 1985, both from the University of Windsor and a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in 1983. Marchionne received an Honorary Doctor of laws degree from Walsh College in 2013.
From 1983 to 1985, he worked as an accountant and tax specialist for Deloitte & Touche in Canada. From 1985 to 1988, he was Group Controller and then Director of Corporate Development at the Lawson Mardon Group in Toronto. In 1989, he moved to Glenex Industries where he worked for two years as Executive Vice President.
From 1990 to 1992, he was Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer at Acklands Ltd. Between 1992 and 1994, he served as Vice President of Legal and Corporate Development and Chief Financial Officer of the Lawson Group, which was acquired by Alusuisse Lonza (Algroup) in 1994.
From 1994 to 2000, he worked at Algroup (Alusuisse Lonza Group Limited) based in Zurich, where he became Chief Executive Officer in 1997. He then took the helm of the Lonza Group Ltd. in Basel, after its spin-off from Algroup, serving first as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director (2000–2001) and then as Chairman (2002).
In February 2002, he became Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of SGS S.A. of Geneva where, in March 2006, he was appointed Chairman. Marchionne was elected as an independent member of the Board of Directors of Fiat S.p.A. in May 2003, until being appointed CEO in 2004.
In June 2009, when Chrysler emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Fiat Group received a 20% stake in Chrysler Group LLC and Marchionne was appointed CEO, replacing existing CEO Robert Nardelli. In July 2011, following the purchase of the ownership interests held by Canada and the US Treasury, Fiat’s stake in Chrysler increased to 53.5% and in September 2011, Marchionne was also elected Chairman of Chrysler. Fiat and Chrysler officially merged under Marchionne's direction on August 1, 2014.
Personality and management style
He is well known for his unique personality and management style. Marchionne has a preference for dealing directly with managers and other employees and is reported to have been perplexed and even shocked, when he first arrived at Fiat, by the practice of other executives communicating with each other through their secretaries. Confirming his preference for a more collegial style, at Chrysler his office is located on the fourth floor which is the same floor as the engineering department, as opposed to the top-floor penthouse – now empty – where a chairman and three vice chairmen used to be.
With regard to personal interests, Marchionne is an aficionado of the arts and classical music and often listens to music as he works, keeping a large collection of CDs in his office. In conversation and public addresses, he also frequently quotes artists, musicians, historical figures and politicians. He is multilingual and speaks in a baritone voice. He is a chain smoker, and eschews the traditional suit in favor of blue or black pullover sweaters worn on top of a button-down shirt and black slacks. This was parodied in an issue of Car and Driver magazine which showed a spoof Marchionne doll that could be dressed in a variety of outfits, all of which, however, were identical copies of the same outfit.
A supercar enthusiast and proficient driver who frequently takes to the track with a Ferrari, Maserati or other high-performance vehicle manufactured by the group he manages, Marchionne suffered some embarrassment when he wrecked his personal Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano while in his adopted country Switzerland in 2007.
Honors and awards
- Cavaliere del Lavoro – 1 June 2006
- Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Windsor (Canada), 15 October 2005
- Masters honoris causa from the CUOA Foundation (Italy), 30 November 2007
- Degree in Economics honoris causa from the Università degli Studi di Cassino, 5 October 2007
- On 27 May 2008, he received a degree ad honorem in Industrial Engineering and Management from Polytechnic University in Turin (Italy) for:
…significant achievement as an international manager and for turning around Italy’s largest industrial group, revitalizing its image and competitive capability around the world
- Honorary Doctor of Business Administration from the University of Toledo (Ohio), 8 May 2011
- On 5 November 2010, Marchionne was awarded the Premio Pico della Mirandola.
- On 2 November 2011, Marchionne was awarded The Deming Cup 2011 for operational excellence presented by W. Edwards Deming Center at Columbia Business School.
- On 5 December 2011, The Business Council for International Understanding honored Marchionne with the Dwight D. Eisenhower Leadership Award
- On 17 November 2015, Marchionne was awarded the Hennick Medal for Career Achievement at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University by The Hennick Centre for Business and Law.
A controversial figure by virtue of his unorthodox management style, in February 2011, Marchionne sparked widespread controversy in the U.S. when he remarked at the J.D. Power & Associates International Automotive Roundtable that Chrysler's bail-out loans from the U.S. government carried "shyster rates". Expressing his discontent with the very high interest rates Chrysler had been obliged to pay, he also drew criticism from several quarters for use of the Yiddish term "shyster" which was felt to have an anti-Semitic overtone.
Marchionne immediately issued a public apology, stating "I regret the remark and consider it inappropriate" and going on to explain that "As the only parties willing to underwrite the risk associated with Chrysler’s recovery plan, the two governments [U.S. and Canadian] levied interest rates that, although appropriate at the time, are above current market conditions."
- Carlos Ghosn, CEO who led a turnaround at Nissan.
- Lee Iacocca, CEO who led a previous turnaround at Chrysler.
- Alan Mulally, CEO who also led a previous turnaround at Ford.
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- "BCIU Gala".
- Rachel Sanderson and John Reed (6 February 2011). "Fiat in firestorm for floating Detroit move". Financial Times. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
- Michael J. de la Merced (6 February 2011). "Chrysler Chief Apologizes for Comment on Terms of U.S. Loans". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
- Dan Hart (5 February 2011). "Chrysler's Marchionne Says Calling Loans `Shyster Rates' Was Inappropriate". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 7 February 2011.