A couple of weeks ago it became clear that Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, president of Ferrari since 1991, had lost the power battle against his boss and arch rival Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and will leave the company.
Montezemolo was hired by Enzo Ferrari as his PA in 1973, 41 years ago (!) and could well be described as the last Ferrari man of the old school and also the man that since 1991 led the company from close to bankruptcy through ist commercially most successful period in history. In his 23 years as CEO, Ferrari launched 19 new models and became F1 world champion six times under the F1 leadership of Jean Todt, Montezemolo’s most successful hire. He developed new businesses for Ferrari including personalized cars and Corse Clienti, where old racing cars were sold to (very wealthy!) clients. He was key to re-shaping Ferrari into the company it is today.
The lack of success in F1 since 2007 did however increasingly become a burden for Montezemolo and a good excuse for Marchionne to push him out. Marchionne already started the process a while ago when recruiting Marco Mattiacci as new F1 boss, who at the time claimed never having seen an F1 race and was as far from Montezemolo’s style as you can get.
Montezemolo leaves a very big pair (no doubt hand-sewn) Italian leather shoes to fill, as he himself moves on to try to achieve the same wonders with another Italian company close to bankruptcy – Alitalia. Ciao Luca, we wish you the best of luck, it seems you may need it…