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Odette building
Odette Building

Visit by Fiat Chrysler CEO leaves impression on students

 

UWindsor alumnus Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, speaks with business professor Vincent Georgie during last week’s Georgie-Odette Leadership Symposium. Photo courtesy FCA.

 

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne spoke to several hundred people — including business students and alumni — at the annual Georgie-Odette Leadership Symposium last Thursday at the Odette School of Business.

Marchionne, a dual Canadian-Italian citizen, completed an MBA and a BComm at UWindsor. He is a barrister, solicitor and chartered accountant who majored in philosophy and also received an honorary Doctor of Laws from UWindsor.

He told the Odette audience that the university provided a “phenomenal” experience: “I spent the best years of my life at this school.”

Marchionne also met with a small group of engineering students during a tour of the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation. He again fondly recalled his days as a UWindsor business student and told the eager graduate students in the Windsor-Torino-FCA exchange program to slow down and enjoy this “intellectually stimulating” part of their lives.

Benedetto Giubilato, a Sicilian student who has one year left in the UWindsor-Politecnico di Torino dual degree automotive master’s program, said he was interested in learning about Marchionne’s experience as a student.

“He said you have to build your character and you have to build it with many bricks — not just engineering,” Giubilato said. “I mean, if Sergio Marchionne told me, it means it works.”

Marchionne began his professional career in 1983 at Deloitte & Touche. When Giubilato asked him how his life changed when he entered the workforce, the room erupted with laughter.

“Enjoy this place; I mean that sincerely,” Marchionne said. “Make the best of it. You will remember this very fondly.”

Marchionne helped establish the Windsor-Torino exchange program, a first-of-its-kind joint degree agreement that allows students to complete two master’s degrees from UWindsor and the Politecnico di Torino in Italy while contributing to cutting-edge research and development projects at FCA.