About a month ago, Ferrari’s longtime Chairman, Luca di Montezemolo, announced that he would be stepping down after several decades in the role, effective when Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Ferrari’s parent company, listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The move wasn’t entirely unexpected but it was still a bit of a shock — Montezemolo was synonymous with Ferrari and had seen the luxury carmaker through a dramatic recovery from a bad patch late 1980’s and early 1990’s. There was speculation that he resignation had been compelled by FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne’s dissatisfaction with Ferrari’s recent results in Formula 1 racing.
But the reality was likely that Montezemolo didn’t want to expand Ferrari’s sales, whereas Marchionne does. So now Marchionne, who has taken the wheel at Ferrari, will get his chance to prove that is strategy won’t compromise the aura of exclusivity that surrounds the Prancing Stallion brand.
Montezemolo has seemed rather placid about his departure. Although in the CNBC video below, he doesn’t exactly express a ringing endorsement of the new regime. “I hope so,” he answers, when asked about his confidence level regarding the new management:
Meanwhile, Marchionne also took to the broadcast outlets, as FCA prepared to launch on the NYSE on Monday. He stressed to CNBC that it’s important to avoid messing up Ferrari’s DNA:
Obviously, Marchionne knows what’s in front of him. It’s concerning that he’s taking on the Ferrari chairmanship with a slight tone of fear (although he does know his cars, calling the Ferrari 458 a gift from God).
But then again, it was going to be difficult for Montezemolo to continue insisting that Ferrari only sell 7,000 cars a year with FCA under stress to make good on Marchionne’s global ambitions to compete with Toyota and Volkswagen.
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