It was a widely expected departure by Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, though he insisted only at the weekend’s Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monza, Italy, that he would be staying in charge.

Unacceptable F1 Performance

The announcement was expected after the Ferrari F1 team has had yet another disappointing season – its worst in two decades – on the circuit of the world’s biggest motor racing platform. He will be replaced by the chief executive of Fiat Sergio Marchionne.

Mr Marchionne recently came out in the press saying that the team’s showing in Formula 1 this year was:

“unacceptable”

After the race in Italy on Sunday, where Spanish driver Fernando Alonso retired after 28 laps and fellow Ferrari racer Kimi Raikkonen finished ninth, Mr Marchionne said that the need for Ferrari to win F1 races was:

“absolutely non-negotiable”

The departure sees Mr Montezemolo’s tenure as head of the luxury brand come to an end after 23 years. Now 67, he has been associated with Ferrari for most of his life, working under the founder of the firm, Enzo Ferrari, when he first joined as his assistant.

The Most Wonderful Company

As he announced his departure on Wednesday, which comes into effect on October 13, Mr Montezemolo said:

“It has been a great privilege and honour to have been [Ferrari’s] 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.”

He had started the press briefing by announcing that Ferrari was:

“the most wonderful company in the world”.

Mr Montezemolo’s departure will come three days ahead of Fiat-Chrysler listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

Closer Integration

It is understood that Mr Marchionne will oversee his ambition of a closer integration between Fiat and Ferrari. He has sales of 10,000 cars targeted for each year.

This is something which Mr Montezemolo was expressly against, arguing that he wanted to maintain Ferrari’s exclusivity and independence.

Despite the relatively low sales of Ferrari, the high price tags actually saw them accounting for 12% of Fiat-Chrysler’s operating profits last year. With just under 7,000 cars sold last year, (near the sales target that Mr Montezemolo was happy with), the brand saw its net profit increase by 5.4% to 246 million euros.

Following the announcement Fiat’s stock rose 2.7% to trade at 7.91 euros.

At the time of writing it had fallen back to 7.82 euros, an increase of 1.7%.

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