Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has appointed Mike Manley, head of its Jeep division, as its new CEO to replace Sergio Marchionne, who was forced, due to complications arising from a shoulder surgery, to relinquish the post after 14 years. Marchionne, 66, had surgery on his right shoulder and needed a short period of recovery, an FCA spokesman told Italian business website Lettera 43 on July 5. He has not been seen in public since June 26, when he delivered a Jeep Wrangler to the Italian police in Rome.
In a news releases, FCA announced that Marchionne had been recovering from surgery but his condition has worsened significantly. “As a consequence, Mr. Marchionne will be unable to return to work,” the company said.
To provide operational continuity, the board has granted Manley with immediate effect all the powers of CEO. He will also assume responsibility for the NAFTA region, FCA said.
Manley, 54, is the man behind the extraordinary success of the Jeep brand’s global expansion. He was named head of Jeep at the time of Fiat’s acquisition in 2009, leading the transformation of the iconic American brand.
Manley rose through the ranks to head Jeep. He has been part of the Group Executive Council, FCA’s governing body, since 2011. Between 1986 and 2000, Manley worked for various car dealerships in England and Scotland. He joined DaimlerChrysler in 2000 as director of network development at DaimlerChrysler UK. He held different international positions at DaimlerChrysler and then Chrysler before being appointed president and CEO of Jeep at post-bankruptcy Chrysler Group in June 2009.
“Mike is the absolute best choice from a strong field,” Jim Press, the former co-president of Chrysler Group, said in an e-mailed statement to Automotive News. “Sergio deserves all the credit as the master architect behind FCA’s recovery and Mike was instrumental in building today’s prosperity. The company is in great hands with Mike Manley at the wheel and it’s wonderful news for the dealer body.”
Under his watch, Jeep’s global sales have quadrupled, and the brand is within reach of selling 1 million vehicles in the U.S. for the first time this year.