Complications from surgery mean he cannot return to work

After an emergency board meeting Fiat Chrysler (FCA) has appointed Mike Manley, previously head of Jeep and RAM, as its acting CEO effectively immediately.

In a statement overnight, the company announced 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", and as a result the outspoken CEO "will be unable to return to work".

According to Lettera 43 (via Automotive News), Marchionne had surgery on his right shoulder on July 5. His last public appearance was on June 24, when he delivered a Jeep Wrangler to Rome's police force.

Fiat Chrysler's board will now "accelerate the CEO transition process that has been proceeding over the past months", and has proposed Mike Manley as its new CEO. The position will be put to a shareholder vote in the "coming days".

Until this takes place, the company has given Manley all the powers usually vested in a CEO. Manley will also assume responsibility for the entire North American region, and is expected to implement the five-year business plan laid out by Marchionne at the beginning of June.

Manley is a 54-year old automotive executive from Edenbridge, United Kingdom. He joined the company's UK branch, when it was still DaimlerChrysler, in 2000. He has been the head of the Jeep brand since 2009, and took control of the RAM marque in 2015.

His previous roles in the company have included being the head of its Asia Pacific operations, and product chief for all regions except North America.

Marchionne was appointed as Fiat Auto's CEO in 2004, and engineered the company's takeover of Chrysler in 2009, after the American company entered a government-backed bankruptcy filing. He was due to step down as FCA's chief some time in 2019.

Above: Mike Manley. Top: Sergio Marchionne.

The Fiat Chrysler group includes the following brands: Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati, Chrysler, Dodge, RAM, and Jeep. Exor, FCA's parent company, also controls Ferrari.

As a remnant of FCA's previous ownership of the Ferrari marque, Marchionne has until now served as Ferrari's CEO, in addition to his duties at the Italian-American automaker.

In a separate statement Ferrari also expressed its "deep sadness" regarding Marchionne's health, but was "grateful for the extraordinary contribution he has made in recent years at the helm of Ferrari".

The prancing horse brand will appoint Louis C. Camilleri as replacement CEO. Camilleri was born in Egypt to Maltese parents, and has previously served as the CEO of the tobacco giant Philip Morris.