Sergio Marchionne, wearer of many hats, appears poised to don yet another cappello.
Following the departure of former Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo, who high-tailed it in 2014 due to clashes with Marchionne over company strategy, BloombergÂ is reporting that current Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa is planning to retire after the nomination of a new board of directors, expected sometime this week.
Felisa does plan to stay as a board member, but this change will leave the role of CEO vacant â€¦ and we all know how much Sergio loves to be the Big Boss of Things.
Itâ€™s not unusual for car industry executives to hold multiple roles: Carlos Ghosn is CEO of both Renault and Nissan, with Daimler AGâ€™s CEO Dieter Zetsche (aka “Dr. Z”) leading that companyâ€™s Mercedes-Benz division.
Marchionne, however, has usurped them all in terms of sheer numbers of titles on his business card. In addition to leading FCA and being chairman of Ferrari, he is (among other things) the chairman of a Swiss product-testing company, chairman of the truck group spun off from Fiat in 2011, and an independent director of Philip Morris International. Why not add temporary CEO of Ferrari to that list? Perhaps heâ€™ll get a bulk discount on black sweaters.
Since the companyâ€™s IPO in October, Ferrari shares have dropped by about 25%. Given the generally held reason for di Montezemoloâ€™s departure â€”Â clashes with Marchionne over plans to expand the Ferrari brand in ways he felt did not fit with Ferrari traditionÂ â€” letâ€™s hope plans arenâ€™t afoot to goose market share by creating a Ferrari crossover or some other cash-cow abomination.
Rumours do abound of Ferrari planning a second “entry-level”Â GT carÂ in addition to the California T. This is not a wholly offensive notion. After all, there is a vast gulf inÂ the price of admission between the raucous/oddly-doorhandled 488GTB and the droptop California T.
Amedeo Felisa was in charge of product development at Alfa Romeo before joining Ferrari, reportedly becoming one of Montezemoloâ€™s closest aides for over twenty years. Ferrari shareholders will meet in Amsterdam on April 15. Until then, no decisions have been finalized.