Sergio Marchionne, who engineered turnarounds to save car companies Fiat and Chrysler from near-certain failure, has died aged 66.
The holding company of the Agnelli family, which founded Fiat, confirmed the news on Wednesday.
Mr Marchionne joined Fiat in 2004 and led the Turin-based company’s merger with bankrupt US car maker Chrysler.
He built the dysfunctional companies into the world’s seventh-largest car manufacturer.
Mr Marchionne was reported to have had surgery for a shoulder problem about three weeks ago in Switzerland.
Fiat Chrysler said on Saturday that due to his deteriorating health, Mr Marchionne “will be unable to return to work”.