Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrylser Auto, died July 25 in Zurich at the age of 66, after unexpected complications from shoulder surgery led to fatal cardiac arrest. That came days after a deterioration in his health led the company to appoint a successor.

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne in a 2007 photo. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne in a 2007 photo. The Associated Press reports that at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles headquarters in Turin, Italy, corporate flags flew at half-staff and Marchionne’s successor led a minute of silence ahead of an earnings presentation.

The news agency ANSA reported the cause of death as cardiac arrest. The executive suffered one while recovering from shoulder surgery in June. That was followed by a second, fatal event.

On July 21, the company's board of directors named Michael Manley as CEO. Manley has been head of the Jeep brand since June 2009 and head of the Ram brand since October 2015.

Prior to those roles, he was chief operating officer for the APAC region. He was also the lead Chrysler Group executive for the international activities of Chrysler outside of NAFTA, where he was responsible for implementing distribution of Chrysler Group products through Fiat’s international distribution network.

Marchionne had planned to step down after first-quarter earnings in 2019. The transition was accelerated after the company announced that undisclosed complications following his surgery would prevent Marchionne's return. He also was replaced as CEO of sports car maker Ferrari and heavy truck and equipment maker CNH Industrial.

As hallmarks of his career, Marchionne turned around Fiat and Chrysler, merging them into the world’s seventh-largest carmaker, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Marchionne was born in Italy and emigrated to Canada at age 14. He was largely credited with reviving Fiat by 2009, after he was picked by the U.S. government to save U.S.-based Chrysler as it emerged from bankruptcy protection, previously owned by a private equity company.

“It’s highly unlikely that Chrysler would exist today had he not taken that gamble,” Autotrader.com analyst Michelle Krebs was quoted as saying by the AP.

Marchionne joined Fiat after being tapped by the Agnelli family to save the company. Among the corporate moves he pursued was spinning off industrial vehicle and truck maker CNH as well as Ferrari.

AP says that his most quoted presentation to analysts, titled “Confessions of a Capital Junkie,” argued that consolidation was inevitable in the car industry. He tried for another merger with General Motors, but talks never led to a deal.

In June, Marchionne laid out Fiat Chrysler’s five-year plan, which included launching electrified powertrains across Fiat brands. They also were to put Ferrari engines in Maserati cars as Marchionne sought to take on Tesla.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra was quoted as praising his “remarkable legacy in the automotive industry.” Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford reportedly called Marchionne “one of the most respected leaders in the industry whose creativity and bold determination helped to restore Chrysler to financial health and grow Fiat Chrysler into a profitable global automaker.”

Marchionne was divorced. He is survived by his companion, Manuela Battezzato, and two grown sons, Alessio and Tyler.