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UPDATE: Montezemolo to quit Ferrari

2014-09-10 12:16

ARRIVEDERCI, FERRARI! Ferrari's long-time chairman Luca de Montezemolo announced his departure from the company and resignation as president of its Formula 1 team on Wednesday (Sept 10 2014). Image: AFP

AGNIESZKA FLAK

MARANELLO, Italy - Luca Cordero di Montezemolo will step down as chairman of Ferrari as of October 13 2014 and will be replaced by Sergio Marchionne who is also the chief executive of parent group Fiat.

The departure of Montezemolo, announced by Fiat on Wednesday (Sept 10 2014) was widely expected after intensifying clashes between the two executives over strategy and the role of the luxury sports car business within the Fiat group.

Fiat shares were up 2.4% by 0721 GMT against a 0.1% fall for Milan's blue-chip index.

COINCIDENTAL DAY?

Montezemolo, Ferrari's chairman since 1991, has wanted to keep Ferrari autonomous; Marchionne was pushing to better integrate the business within Fiat to boost the group's move into the premium end of the car market as it seeks to rival the likes of Volkswagen and BMW.

The Oct 13 resignation date coincides with the day when Fiat, which owns 90% of Ferrari, plans to list Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in New York after completing a merger with its US business and cementing a shift of the Italian group from its home for the past 115 years.

Montezemolo said in a separate statement: "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."

Marchionne said he and Montezemolo had discussed the future of Ferrari at length and that "our mutual desire to see Ferrari achieve its true potential on the (Formula One racing) track has led to misunderstandings, which became clearly visible over the past weekend".

The Fiat CEO said on Sunday (Sept 7) that the recent disappointing performance of Ferrari's F1 team was "unacceptable" and that it was "absolutely non-negotiable" that Ferrari should win F1 races.

Under Montezemolo's more than two-decade tenure, Ferrari raced to the top of the F1 grid, increased revenues tenfold and tripled sales volumes as the Italian family business grew into one of the world's most powerful brands.


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