We knew that the relationship between Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne was far from warm, but we didn’t expect things to move so fast.
Luca di Montezemolo stuck to his word and was the first to announce that he will step down as Ferrari chairman, without disclosing the reasons behind his decision. However, he hinted at Ferrari’s new role within Fiat Chrysler Automobiles as being the reason for his departure.
“Ferrari will have an important role to play within the FCA Group in the upcoming flotation on Wall Street. This will open up a new and different phase which I feel should be spearheaded by the CEO of the Group,” Montezemolo said in a release.
“This is the end of an era and so I have decided to leave my position as Chairman after almost 23 marvelous and unforgettable years in addition to those spent at Enzo Ferrari’s side in the 1970s,” the executive added. The release continues in an emotional manner, with Montezemolo thanking all the people who supported Ferrari throughout the years.
“Ferrari is the most wonderful company in the world. It has been a great privilege and honor 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,” reads the press release.
As Montezemolo said, Ferrari will be led directly by Sergio Marchionne, but it is not clear yet whether the Italian-Canadian will steer the Scuderia until a replacement is found for Montezemolo or permanently. Marchionne’s dispute with Montezemolo is reportedly related to the latter’s decision to cap Ferrari’s annual production at 7,000 units to maintain exclusivity.
Marchionne doesn’t like that and thinks Ferrari should make as many cars as there is demand for, earning more money for FCA as the Italian company’s products are known for their high profit margins. Until we learn more details about Marchionne’s plans for Ferrari, I have to say Montezemolo has the numbers on his side. During his “reign”, Ferrari’s carmaking business has broken record after record and the Scuderia Ferrari has won eight Formula One constructors’ championships.