Luca Di Montezemolo is to step down as long-time chairman of Ferrari with effect from 13th October. His departure follows a poor season in Formula 1 and disagreements with Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of parent company Fiat. “This is the end of an era after almost 23 marvellous and unforgettable years,” said Di Montezemolo, 67, adding “It has been a great privilege.” Marchionne himself will replace Di Montezemelo at the helm of Ferrari.
During his 23 years reign he transformed the car company into a formidable business which, last year, recorded €246m in net profit on €2.3bn of sales. The Formula 1 team also achieved success during this time when seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher helped the team achieve six consecutive constructors’ championships. However the team has not won a drivers’ or constructors’ title since 2008 and are now in the midst of their worst season for 20 years. Marchionne described the current poor performance of Ferrari’s Formula 1 racing team as “unacceptable” and said it was “absolutely non-negotiable” that Ferrari should win Formula 1 races.
The ousting of Di Montezemolo could now open the way for a listing of the Ferrari business, which is currently 90% owned by Fiat. Listing Ferrari would help reduce Fiat’s debt and improve its credit rating which would help to reduce its cost of capital.
Di Montezemelo has other business interests – he is vice-president of UniCredit, Italy’s largest bank, and was chair of Confindustria, a business lobby group, from 2004 until 2008. It is rumoured that, free of the shackles of running a troubled Ferrari team, he might reappear as chairman of Alitalia, Italy’s national airline. Fast transport is clearly in his blood.