Sergio Marchionne's health worsening as he remains in ICU

Fiat Chrysler chooses Jeep exec Manley to replace ailing CEO

In a letter made public on Sunday that Elkann sent to FCA employees, he wrote that Marchionne has "unfortunately experienced complications that have worsened in recent hours".

Manley also faces the test of meeting rigorous fuel-economy standards in Europe and China, along with managing through political uncertainty in Italy, and trade fears in the NAFTA zone and between the USA and European Union - both important areas for Fiat Chrysler. Evidence of that: last month at an event to release the company's next five-year business plan, the sweater-wearing CEO wore a tie to signal he had paid down the debt, as promised.

On Friday, FCA denied a report by Italian website Lettera43 that Elkann had summoned top executives to a meeting on Saturday in order to reassign Marchionne's responsibilities.

Marchionne was expected to step down from his role as CEO next year, although it was unclear who would lead the company after his exit.

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Manley had worked as DaimlerChrysler's head of network development in Britain since 2000, having earlier worked for several years in vehicle dealership. He took the driver's seat at Jeep in June 2009 at a time when the U.S. motor industry in general was battling huge headwinds whipped up by the global financial crisis the previous year.

Elkann, the 42-year-old heir to the Agnelli family that founded the Italian carmaker Fiat in 1899, remembered Marchionne's arrival in 2004 at "one of the darkest moments" for the long-struggling company.

The sudden departure of Ferrari's president, Sergio Marchionne, from Fiat-Chrysler due to health issues leaves a lot more questions than answers for the Ferrari F1 team and Formula 1 in general.

The boards of Ferrari and CNH Industrial, which makes heavy machinery and trucks, were called urgently to meet on Saturday in Turin, Fiat's headquarters. He created shareholder value for the Fiat-founding Agnelli family with successful spinoffs of Fiat's heavy vehicle maker CNH Industrial and of the iconic Ferrari super sports auto company. "We expect continuity." But he also expressed concern that Fiat Chrysler's success has been linked to Marchionne's ability to shift strategy to meet targets. Ferrari, where Marchionne was also replaced at the helm, shed 5 per cent. Much of Fiat Chrysler's profits come from the Ram pickup, especially in the U.S.

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