Yesterday, FCA US held a very touching private memorial at their Chrysler Technology Center in Auburn Hills, Michigan for former CEO Sergio Marchionne. The event lasted about an hour and took place where Marchionne held his inaugural address to the Auburn Hills employees back in 2009.
Thousands of employees attended the ceremony. Plant managers from 25 facilities were also in attendance representing the North American assembly plants, engine plants, and other FCA US operating manufacturing facilities.
During his speech, Elkann officially renamed the company’s scholarship program, formerly the FCA Student Achievement Awards, to the “Sergio Marchionne Student Achievement Awards.” Established in 1996, the worldwide program recognizes eligible children of employees studying in high school, college or university. Each year, the program supports approximately 2,000 young people in their studies.
Quotes from Speeches:
John Elkann, Chairman of FCA
“He taught us to think differently. To have the courage to change and act. To be unafraid. He taught us that the most important question to ask ourselves at the end of every day is whether we have been able to change something for the better. And Sergio did so, wherever his work took him and in the lives of so many people.”
“He was not a man of perhaps and maybe. He took decisions, never shying away from issues, as tough as they might be. His role as CEO was always about responsibility, never privilege. And he constantly lived to that responsibility.”
“We will continue to reach higher levels of performance, which is what really mattered to Sergio: the pursuit of excellence, the idea that there is always a better way. He set us a powerful example through his humanity, his determination never to accept the status quo, never to be satisfied with good enough and never settling for mediocrity. As we come to an end to this Memorial – of who to me was a true friend and whom I miss very much – I hope we can all find some comfort in knowing that his example is something we will continue to carry with us.”
Mike Manley, CEO of FCA
“I was lucky enough to become part of his world nine years ago. The years since then have been the most intense, absorbing and engaging of my life. I have said publicly that working with Sergio was a business education that you could not buy regardless of how much you wanted to spend, what I did not say publicly was that for me, it was also a journey of personal growth – he gave me the space to understand who I am and pushed me to explore my full potential.”
“Inheriting such a legacy is no easy task, but one thing I will not try to do is be Sergio. He was and will always remain a unique leader. I will do my best to preserve his legacy, to ensure this company continues to nurture and develop the values that are essential to its success, to retain the respect of our competitors and the confidence of the financial community and, above all, to guarantee the dignity of everyone who is a part of this incredible organization. I will do my best to honor Sergio’s memory. And the greatest tribute we can pay Sergio is to continue doing what we do and – as he taught us – constantly strive to do it better.”