Why Marchionne Stood Out as an Auto Industry Leader

Associated Press |

Image via Dgtmedia - Simone/Wikimedia

MILAN (AP) — Sergio Marchionne, the founding CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles  (FCAU) who died Wednesday, was widely recognized as an industry leader. Here's a look at some of his biggest accomplishments.

CREATING VALUE

Since taking over Fiat in 2004, Marchionne has grown the company's market value by more than tenfold. Fiat's share prices rose from 1.4 euros ($1.64) to as much as 20 euros ($23.4) this year. That increase reflects the takeover of Chrysler but also the spinoff of key units, like Ferrari.

GETTING CASH FROM GM

The key to relaunching Fiat was getting General Motors  (GM) to pay $2 billion in 2005 to sever ties. It was the move that made Marchionne's name as a dealmaker. The two companies had had a legal contract by which Fiat could have forced GM to buy out the company. GM was afraid of taking on Fiat and its debt. So Marchionne convinced it to pay the divorce fee instead — money that helped Fiat get back on its feet.

BUYING CHRYSLER FOR NOTHING

In 2009, as CEO of Fiat, Marchionne struck an agreement to take over Chrysler without putting down a penny. In exchange, it offered its small-car technology, which Chrysler had been lacking. That saved Chrysler from liquidation and since then it has become the profit-leader in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

SPINOFFS

Marchionne unlocked wealth by spinning off subsidiaries, above all the sports car and racing unit Ferrari and the construction vehicles manufacturer CNH. Ferrari is now worth 27 billion euros ($32 billion) and CNH about 18 billion euros ($21 billion).

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Companies

Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
GM General Motors Company 37.67 0.12 0.32 17,427,441 Trade
FCAU Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. 16.52 0.08 0.49 5,205,856 Trade

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