Tributes have poured in for Sergio Marchionne, the former CEO of Chrysler and Fiat who died Wednesday.
Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes wrote: "His impact on the global auto industry cannot be overstated.”
Howes joined Stateside’s Cynthia Canty to discuss the qualities that made Marchionne a great leader.
Marchionne took over Fiat in 2004. Within four years, Howes said, Marchionne had the company heading in the right direction. When the global financial meltdown occurred, Marchionne spotted an opportunity.
“Fiat as a group did not have a major presence in North America,” Howes explained. “It's a very rich market, it’s a truck and SUV market, increasingly so since the time he did that deal. And he saw an opportunity to get his hands on one of the greatest brands — some people will tell you the greatest American automotive brand in the world — and that's Jeep.”
Howes said its important to note Marchionne completed this deal without putting any cash down.
“Sergio Marchionne saved a company in Detroit, and he saved tens of thousands of jobs. He saved a lot of property values in Oakland County, and a whole lot of other things because this was a guy who had a certain kind of daring, who is very smart about reading this part of the world. He was educated in Toronto and Windsor, he knew Detroit. He gets Detroit, he gets the grit of it, the history, the kind of people that are here.”
Listen above to hear the full conversation with Daniel Howes.
This post was written by Stateside production assistant Sophie Sherry.