Bloomberg’s Tommaso Ebhardt discusses his new book reflecting on the career and legacy of the late Sergio Marchionne, former chief executive officer at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. He speaks on “Bloomberg Markets.” (Source: Bloomberg)
Tommaso Ebhardt: The Legend Of Sergio Marchionne
Nine months since the death of Sergio Marchionne Milan bureau chief Tommaso airports chased fear. Chrysler's charismatic leader around the world for ten years. Believe me you'd see Sergio you look in his shadow. And some also would be there. Tommaso new book Sergio Marchione tells the story of the man who fixed Italy's biggest car brands also joins us now from Milan. Tomaso what's your most abiding memory of Sergio Marchione.
Hi good morning and good afternoon from Milan. I think that the you know my memory goes through a war. I just got physically my book into my hands for the first time here as we speak and I was reading it was it was it what you told Ozzy in one of several interviews I had with him. And he was essentially driven by an obsession which was making a difference every single day. And this obsession he carried on until the end. Even if he was fearless the thick and the he didn't tell anyone.
Right exactly to Nelson that you decided to write this book having followed and reported on Sergio Marchione for many many years. He was very definitely a bit of an enigmatic man. He didn't tell shareholders for example that he was sick which could be seen as a flaw. He was also absolutely dead set on making partnerships and perhaps even a merger maybe to the extent of not listening to advice to the other side of things correct.
Yeah no. I mean to in terms of illness as I write in my book no one outside these feminin knew he will seek and these include the Jonelle can see the chairman of a fight with sexually discovered that the market was never going to come back and work out why he went for the second time at the zoo recalls Bithell. When my cancer was hospitalized the first time he was not allowed to get into the intensive care unit for privacy reasons by the doctor. The second time when he got into the hospital and met my Kennan's partner understood immediately that my cancer was never going to come back and and on the other side for sure my cat had one big regret. And this was clearly the fact that he didn't pursue Opti and a merger with General Motors or.
Yeah I was going to ask what did he leave on the table. What is there left to do for his successor. Like he created some pretty big companies for Chrysler obviously is the one that stands out in terms of the deal making. He loved deals. He loved playing poker. I'm wondering what kind of the last hand he could have played because the GM deal looked like a stretch too far. Nobody was really interested in unseating a female executive of a U.S. car company. So what was left.
Yeah you know this through and this is also walked the Warren Buffett told the Jonelle Kanyon 2015 as Makana was even considering going hostile. He told me that he had the letter from European banks ready to support to 60 BDM cash wholesale bid for General Motors. But as that can figure out conditions were not there for such an Paca clear out the industry is rapidly changing. There is this disruption shown coming from that technology more money is going to calm Chrysler Chrysler's clearly has never been so strong but the question is a strong enough to survive the disruption. This is the question for his Sfax or Mike Molly.
During your reporting Tomasso and as you say you may have been obsessed from time to time with Sergio Marchione as a leader. What did you discover about him that made him different from other leaders.
I think that the right word to use his obsession. He was obsessed by his job and by the fact that he had to fix the first fifth and then fifth Chrysler. Before leaving he told me in a very long interview we had the last interview actually that that we had a place in meeting and the night before his last Detroit auto show that he really wanted to leave a strong enough to survive.