luca di montezomolo

It is farewell for Luca di Montezemolo (above) after 23 “marvellous and unforgettable” years at Ferrari. The 67-year-old has announced that this is the end of an era for him as he makes way for Fiat Chrysler Automotive Group (FCA) chief Sergio Marchionne (below) – who assumes the position on October 13.

di Montezemolo, arguably, has been instrumental in Ferrari’s rise throughout the decades in motorsports as well as its road-going division. Starting in the 1970s as an assistant alongside company founder, Enzo Ferrari, he helped turn the brand around into a formidable name on and off the circuit.

For those who are not aware of the situation between di Montezemolo and Marchionne, the pair were already involved in a fair bit of tension after a misunderstanding of views on the future of the Ferrari brand. According to reports, Marchionne has been quoted as saying 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 last weekend.”

SERGIO MARCHIONNE

The other catalyst for the falling out – perhaps even the main reason for this, is perhaps the fact that Marchionne was keen on pushing the Ferrari brand as part of his plans to compete in the luxury car market. By expanding Ferrari, FCA would be able to compete, most notably, with the Volkswagen group – which owns a stable of high-end marques under its name.

di Montezemolo, on the other hand, has insisted that Ferrari should always remain exclusive by limiting sales of its cars to 7,000 units a year – as opposed to Marchionne’s target of 10,000 units, and that it should remain as an autonomous unit within Fiat.

It would appear that even di Montezemolo has finally given in to the pressure, adding that “It’s the end of an era… Ferrari is now American.”

The date of di Montezemolo’s resignation is no coincidence as it falls on the same day that Fiat will list FCA in New York after completing a merger with its U.S. business, effectively shifting the Italian brand’s base of operations from Italy – where it has been for the past 115 years.

Attached below is the press statement from Luca di Montezemolo.

“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.

This is the end of an era and so I have decided to leave my position as Chairman after almost 23 marvellous and unforgettable years in addition to those spent at Enzo Ferrari’s side in the 1970s.

My thanks, first and foremost, to the exceptional Ferrari women and men from the factory, the offices, the race tracks and the markets across the world. They were the real architects of the company’s spectacular growth, its many unforgettable victories and its transformation into one of the world’s strongest brands.

A warm farewell and my thanks also to all of our technical and commercial partners, our dealers across the globe and, most particularly, the clients and collectors whose passion I so wholeheartedly share.

But my thoughts go also to our fans who have always supported us with great enthusiasm especially through the Scuderia’s most difficult moments.

Ferrari is the most wonderful company in the world. It has been a great privilege and honour 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.

I wish the shareholders, particularly Piero Ferrari who has always been by my side, and everyone in the Company the many more years of success that Ferrari deserves.”