Fiat chairman Paolo FRESCO said at the weekend that nothing was set to change following the death of honorary chairman and guiding force Gianni Agnelli, Reuters reported.

“Nothing changes, it will continue as before,” Reuters cited Fresco as saying outside Fiat’s Lingotto factory where thousands of people had gathered to pay their respects to Agnelli, who turned Fiat from a family car firm into a global industrial powerhouse.

“The best way to honour the memory of the “Avvocato” (Agnelli) is to undertake all the work necessary to overcome this difficult moment and create a stronger and more successful Fiat,” Fresco said, according to Reuters.

Reuters noted that the death of Agnelli, who was known to Italians as simply “Avvocato” – the lawyer, has stirred talk about an imminent shake-up at the group which is staggering under the weight of heavy losses at its core car unit, Fiat Auto.

Agnelli was a staunch defender of Fiat’s car making activities and his death, aged 81, is seen as removing one of the greatest obstacles to Fiat Auto’s sell-off, Reuters added.

According to Reuters the Fiat-run newspaper La Stampa reported in a black-topped memorial edition on Saturday that Agnelli’s younger brother Umberto, 68, had accepted a nomination from family members to take over Fiat’s management.

Umberto Agnelli has previously said the group may need to exit car making, Reuters noted.