Just as Ferrari is preparing to stand on its own two feet, the man who led the effort, Sergio Marchionne, may be the man leading the company on a day-to-day basis as its new CEO.
Marchionne, who heads up Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., is already the Italian sports car maker’s chairman. He’s rumored to be taking over the Chief Executive’s role when the current CEO, Amedeo Felisa, steps down next month.
Felisa, who has been CEO for seven years, has been rumored to be leaving the post since July and the maker has been searching for a replacement since then. Marchionne, who’s already replaced a top exec at the company, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, appears to be the choice.
Marchionne took over for Montezemolo last fall as the winner in a dispute over the production levels. Marchionne wanted to increase the maker’s output to 10,000 units annually amid complaints from dealers that they needed more product.
Montezemolo spent much of his tenure atop the org chart restraining production, contending the exclusivity of Ferrari is what keeps demand high. What also kept buyers wanting a Prancing Horse in their driveway was the company’s success on the F1 racing circuit.
However, Ferrari’s had some tough sledding during the end of Montezemolo’s time as chairman. At a company where the racing budget routinely exceeded the production vehicle budget and 14 World Drivers and Constructors Cup championships, a tough stretch is unfathomable.
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Combine arguing with your boss, Marchionne, who has the support of the parent company, Fiat SpA, and a marginal result on the race track, Montezemolo saw the writing on the wall and left the company.
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Once out the door, Marchionne took over as chairman and announced production levels would rise to 10,000 units annually. Additionally, new products — previously not favored by Montezemolo — such as utility vehicle will get a second look.
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Succeeding Felisa, who joined Ferrari as an engineer in 1990, will only cement his ability to lead the newly independent automaker with his vision … and to increased profits.
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