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Sergio Takes the Helm at Ferrari; Confirms Record Profits and a LaFerrari Spider

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Sergio Marchionne added another CEO title to his résumé yesterday, taking control of Ferrari, where the Fiat-Chrysler head already served as chairman.

He replaces former CEO Amedeo Felisa, who retired after 26 years with the company. Felisa remains on the independent automaker’s board of directors, where he will serve as a technical advisor.

Marchionne now has full control of the company he spun off from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles at the beginning of the year. Two years ago, he succeeded former chairman Luca di Montezemolo, who stepped down in protest of Marchionne’s plans for the brand’s future.

Those profitability plans are twofold, and include an expansion of the brand’s presence in non-automotive luxury goods, a direction started by di Montezemolo. Last year, the automaker said it would increase annual vehicle production to 9,000 units by 2019.

The news of Marchionne’s appointment comes as the company announced a record first-quarter profit, spurred by a 15 percent increase in sales. That translates into a 19 percent boost in net profits — 78 million euros, or $89.5 million.

Marchionne was clearly pleased at the company’s numbers, assuring investors during a speech on Wall Street that the good times were just beginning.

“I was the one that pitched the Ferrari case on the road. It’s not going to be a different case than the one that I presented to the capital markets at the end of last year,” Marchionne said in the Detroit Free Press. “We are beginning, just now, to define the true potential on the passenger car side of what this house can actually deliver.”

The 1,882 vehicles Ferrari sold during the first quarter were part of the reason for the company’s record profit; cost-saving efficiencies were the other.

Marchionne said demand remains high for Ferrari vehicles, with orders extending into 2017. In an interview with Automobile Magazine, he confirmed that the LaFerrari Spider is a go, with potential customers already approached about the drop-top version of the brand’s supercar.

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