An Italian-Canadian is getting into Ferrari’s driver’s seat.
After 23 years leading Ferrari, chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemelo has stepped down and Sergio Marchionne, CEO of both Fiat and Chrysler, has taken over as chairman of Ferrari. Marchionne officially took over Oct. 13, following the completion of Ferrari’s celebration of 60 years in America and the same day that Fiat and Chrysler started trading together on the New York Stock Exchange. Marchionne, who has led Chrysler’s restructuring and combination with Fiat, said he plans to stay with the company through 2018.
“Luca and I were appointed to the Fiat Board of Directors on the very same day back in 2003”, said Marchionne in an official release from Fiat Chrysler. “One year later, he became Chairman and I became CEO. We worked side by side, sharing concerns, difficulties and successes. As Chairman of Ferrari, he drove the company to a new level of technological and organizational excellence which also brought with it outstanding financial results. Luca and I ha e discussed the future of Ferrari at length … I want to thank Luca for all he has done for Fiat, for Ferrari and for me personally.”
Marchionne, 62, is widely recognized for turning around Fiat Group to become one of the fastest growing automobile companies, returning it to profitability in 2006 less than two years after taking the helm and for managing the US automotive group Chrysler from bankruptcy to profitability.
While there is much speculation as to why Montezemolo decided to resign, one of the reasons cited is that Marchionne wants to expand Ferrari to better compete with other luxury vehicles, while Montezemolo wanted to limit sales to about 7,000 units a year to preserve the brand’s exclusivity. The recent disappointing performance of Ferrari’s F1 team is said to have been a factor as well.
“This is the end of an era and so I have decided to leave my position as chairman after almost 23 marvellous and unforgettable years in addition to those spent at Enzo Ferrari’s side in the 1970s,” said Montezemelo in a release. “Ferrari is the most wonderful company in the world. It has been a great privilege and honour to have been its leader. I devoted all of my enthusiasm and commitment to it over the years. Together with my family, it was, and continues to be, the most important thing in my life.”
Written by Angela Gismondi