Former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles at the age of 66, was a towering figure in the automotive industry. His term as CEO of companies like Ferrari, and in particular as chairman of Maserati, led to reinvigorated sales and excitement about the brands. His willingness to set aside niceties and get to the root of a problem made him a polarizing character for some, but his candidness was also seen as a welcome tonic against the notoriously tight-lipped approach of most major automakers.
Marchionne was also more than just a CEO, and was known, for example, for his generous side. It is all of these facets that have led colleagues, friends, admirers and even critics to take to social media to talk about what he meant to them. Here's a sampling of the outpourings of support and condolences from around the auto industry and beyond.
Ralph Gilles, head of design for FCA:
I will always remember him this way.. yes he was tough and believe me I got my share of well deserved licks but he also had an incredibly generous dimension to him. He noticed everything, he had an incredible capacity for knowledge, a hard drive style memory, a spectacular sense of humor and seemed to always be several steps ahead on so many subjects. All of us at FCA are eternally grateful and will do all that we can to make the best of his legacy. His passing happened while I was flying back from Europe today but I understand that there was a two minute moment of silence observed at our tech center and other FCA facilities. He is simply the kind of man you want to make proud... much like a father. In fact he often called us kids in his affectionate way. He has forever changed how all of us think and process challenges. I have learned some amazing life, business and leadership lessons from him that I will carry with me the rest of my life. I appreciate all of the kind words and supportive comments and prayers many of you have posted. We hope his family feels the support while we respect their privacy. R.I.P #sergiomarchionne
McLaren's F1 team:
Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada:
Larry P. Vellequette, Automotive News:
John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo:
Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors:
Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Company:
Executives like Marchionne are becoming increasingly rare in a world where a CEO's profile is almost as important as his or her product. He was deeply committed to improving the fortunes of the companies he worked for and the people that worked for him. While he wasn't without flaws, his presence will be missed in an industry that is struggling to find a new identity.