Fiat Chrysler’s Marchionne being treated in Zurich’s University Hospital

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne jokes with a tie next to chairman John Elkann during a media conference in Balocco, northern Italy, June 1, 2018. (File Photo: Reuters)
Updated 23 July 2018
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Fiat Chrysler’s Marchionne being treated in Zurich’s University Hospital

  • Fiat Chrysler named its Jeep division boss Mike Manley on Saturday to take over immediately from Marchionne, who had been due to step down next April

ZURICH: Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne was being treated in a Zurich hospital on Sunday with a serious illness after suffering complications following shoulder surgery.
A Fiat Chrysler spokesman confirmed Marchionne was in Zurich’s University Hospital, one of the country’s largest medical centers.
The spokesman did not give the 66-year-old Italian-Canadian executive’s condition and did not reveal in which of the hospital’s 43 divisions he was being treated.
Fiat Chrysler named its Jeep division boss Mike Manley on Saturday to take over immediately from Marchionne, who had been due to step down next April.
SGS, the Swiss logistics services company, also announced on Sunday that it had named a new acting chairman to take over for Marchionne, since his illness prevented him from fulfilling the role’s obligations.
SGS said in a statement it was “deeply saddened” by the news, as did Lausanne, Switzerland-based Philip Morris International, where Marchionne is also on the board.
Marchionne was credited with rescuing Fiat and Chrysler from bankruptcy after taking the Italian carmaker’s wheel in 2004.
Ferrari named FCA Chairman and Agnelli family scion John Elkann as new chairman, while board member Louis Camilleri has been named chief executive.
Meanwhile, Italian media and politicians Sunday saluted Marchionne.
“Marchionne, the end of an era,” was Corriere della Serra’s headline over the weekend.
“This is terrible news,” said Marco Bentivoglio, general secretary of the CISL metalworkers’ union. “We have not seen eye-to-eye on certain things... but together we challenged little lazy Italy which prefers to close plants rather than roll up its sleeves.”
In his 14 years at the helm, Marchionne revamped Fiat, Italy’s premier private enterprise, from top to bottom, turning it into a sector giant, merging it in 2009 with US automaker Chrysler, then hiving off its industrial vehicles to create CNH Industrial in 2011 before a successful spinoff of luxury brand Ferrari in January 2016.
“Marchionne has been a great protagonist of economic life for the past 15 years... he has succeeded in giving Fiat a future when that seemed impossible. He created jobs, not unemployment. I take my hat off to him,” Matteo Renzi said.
Marchionne was close to Renzi for some years before keeping his distance later, though he did not go as far as taking up a suggestion by another former premier, media magnate Silvio Berlusconi, to head up a conservative coalition in the March legislative elections.


Multibillion-dollar deals expected as investment forum looks east

Participants watch a movie highlighting the Red Sea project at last year’s Future Investment Initiatives conference in Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 3 min 3 sec ago
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Multibillion-dollar deals expected as investment forum looks east

  • The Future Investment Initiative is tipped to see big investment partnerships from Russia and China
  • The FII is a key event in showcasing Saudi Arabia’s investment opportunities and economy, and linking foreign and local businessmen

RIYADH: A major investment show in Saudi Arabia is expected to attract thousands of delegates and see deals worth hundreds of billions of dollars — despite several largely “symbolic” last-minute cancelations by speakers.

The Future Investment Initiative, which starts on Tuesday, is tipped to see big investment partnerships from Russia and China, despite several executives, mostly Western, pulling out after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Many of those Western firms have however sent lower-level representatives or regional heads — with big business likely to be done, Saudi officials said.

Speakers from the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Russia-China Investment Fund and electronics giant Samsung are all billed to speak at the event. They join Saudi speakers including Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, head of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and sports official Princess Reema bint Bandar. 

“Investing in transformation,” “technology as opportunity” and “advancing human potential” are among the FII’s themes. Held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, the three-day event is billed as a “blueprint for the 22nd century.”

Ellen Wald, president of the Transversal Consulting think-tank and author of the recent book “Saudi Inc,” said many executives — notably those from Russia and further east — were still looking to do business at the event despite some having pulled out.

“I think the big pull-out of CEOs is not really reflective of the corporate interest in the Kingdom because we see them sending their next level of executives along. So to some degree it is symbolic,” she told Arab News. “In terms of attracting foreign investment, Saudi Arabia could have strategic leverage with Russia and China, and a unique opportunity to work on cutting-edge technologies.”

John Sfakianakis, director of economic research at the Gulf Research Center in Saudi Arabia, said he expected the event to be a success. 

“The FII is a key event in showcasing Saudi Arabia’s investment opportunities and economy, and linking foreign and local businessmen,” he told Arab News.