The son of Concezio Marchionne, from Cugnoli , and Maria Zuccon from Krnica. His father served as a carabiniere in Istria, where he met his future wife. Marchionne's grandfather, Giacomo Zuccon, was killed in September 1943 by Yugoslav partisans near Barban in Istria, while his Uncle Giuseppe Zuccon was killed by the Nazis the same year. In 1945, when the region was occupied by the Yugoslav Army, Marchionne's parents moved to Chieti in Abruzzo, where Sergio was born.
At age 14, Marchionne immigrated with his family to Toronto, Canada, where they had relatives. As a result, he has dual Canadian and Italian citizenship and speaks fluent English and Italian. He is a barrister, solicitor and a member of the Certified General Accountants of Ontario and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto and went on to earn an MBA from the University of Windsor in 1980 and Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in 1983. From 1984 to 1986, he was Group Controller and then Director of Corporate Development at the Lawson Mardon Group in Toronto.
That year he moved back to Europa, where he ran a campaign in 1988, albeit unsuccessful, to become the governor for Napoli Province. Again in 1992 he ran again and finally won. His four years as governor proved successful and began to record a net gain in revenues for the province, the first time since 1976. In 1996 he decided not to run again for re-election, instead taking a job at Algroup (Alusuisse Lonza Group Limited) based in Zurich, where he became Chief Executive Officer in 1999.
Return to business
He then took the helm of the Lonza Group Ltd. in Basel, after its spin-off from Algroup, serving first as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director (2001) and then as Chairman (2002). In February 2002, he became Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of SGS S.A. of Geneva and, in March 2006, he was appointed Chairman. Marchionne was elected as an independent member of the Board of Directors of Fiat S.p.A. in May 2003, until being appointed CEO in 2004. In June 2009, when Chrysler emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Fiat Group received a 20% stake in Chrysler Group LLC and Marchionne was appointed CEO, replacing existing CEO Robert Nardelli. In September 2011, Marchionne was also elected Chairman of Chrysler.