Ferrari Names New CEO As Word of Marchionne's Health Takes on Ominous Tones
Louis C. Camilleri was named the next chief executive officer of Ferrari N.V. on Saturday, succeeding former CEO and chairman Sergio Marchionne, whose health has taken a turn for the worse.
As head of Fiat Chrysler, Marchionne orchestrated the successful spin-off of Ferrari beginning in 2014, completing the process in 2016. While the executive had planned to stay on as chairman of the Italian luxury sports car brand after his scheduled retirement from FCA in April of 2019, fate intervened. Jeep brand head Mike Manley is now CEO of FCA, while Camilleri — who arrives with an impressive background in big business — has taken the helm of Ferrari.
In the chairman’s seat now sits John Elkann, head of the Agnelli family’s Exor holding company, which holds a controlling stake in FCA and Ferrari.
In a statement, Ferrari’s board of directors said that, in a meeting held in the coming days, it will propose to shareholders that Camilleri be named CEO.
“The Board has also given Louis C. Camilleri the necessary powers to ensure continuity of the company’s operation,” the company stated. It also expressed its “deep sadness” that Marchionne will not be able to return to work.
From 2008 until 2013, Camilleri chaired Philip Morris International, a major Ferrari sponsor. Before that, he served as CEO of Kraft Foods International.
In two statements posted to FCA’s website, the automaker and Elkann wrote of their respect and admiration for Marchionne, as well as the suddenness of his current situation. The automaker stated its “profound sorrow that during the course of this week unexpected complications arose while Mr. Marchionne was recovering from surgery and that these have worsened significantly in recent hours.”
In a much longer statement, Elkann wrote:
I am profoundly saddened to learn of Sergio’s state of health. It is a situation that was unthinkable until a few hours ago, and one that leaves us all with a real sense of injustice.
My first thoughts go to Sergio and his family.
What struck me about Sergio from the very beginning, when we met to talk about the possibility of him coming to work for the Group, even more than his management skills and unusual intelligence, were his human qualities, his generosity and the way he understood people.
Over the past 14 years together we have lived through successes and difficulties, internal and external crises, but also unique and unrepeatable moments, both personal and professional.
For so many, Sergio has been an enlightened leader and a matchless point of reference.
For me, he has been someone with whom to share thoughts and in whom to trust, a mentor and above all a true friend.
He taught us to think differently and to have the courage to change, often in unconventional ways, always acting with a sense of responsibility for the companies and their people.
He taught us that the only question that’s worth asking oneself at the end of every day is whether we have been able to change something for the better, whether we have been able to make a difference.
And Sergio has always made a difference, wherever his work took him and in the lives of so very many people.
Today, that difference can be seen in the culture that he introduced in all the companies he has led, a culture that has become an integral part of each and every one of them.
The succession plans we have just announced, even if not without pain from a personal point of view, mean we can guarantee the maximum possible continuity, preserving our companies’ unique cultures.
It has been my privilege to have had Sergio at my side for all these years.
I would ask everyone for their understanding in these circumstances and to respect Sergio’s privacy and that of those who are dear to him.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
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