Felisa will continue to be a part of Ferrari’s board as a "technical advisor"

Sergio Marchionne is a man of many hats and responsibilities. He’s already the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and, just recently, he’s also been appointed as the CEO of Ferrari after the retirement of longtime chief executive Amedeo Felisa. The announcement was made shortly after Felisa’s retirement, with Marchionne immediately assuming all the responsibilities of Felisa while also retaining his current role as chairman. In other words, Marchionne is now the chairman and CEO of Ferrari, as if he didn’t have enough roles and responsibilities.

For his part, Felisa leaves behind a stellar career in Ferrari where he has been for the past 26 years. He first joined the Prancing Horse in 1990 after spending the better part of 20 years with Alfa Romeo. In 2001, he was put in charge of Ferrari’s road-car division, a role he served for five years before being named general manager in 2006 and later on as CEO in 2008. Judging by how much Ferrari has evolved in the past eight years, it’s safe to say that Felisa has had a big hand in the current state of the Italian automaker, including a banner sales and revenue year in 2015 when it shipped of 7,664 units, 6 percent better than its tally in 2014.

No mention was made on why Felisa decided to hang his boots, but now that he’s on his way out, Marchionne will be in charge of running the company more directly since assuming the chairman role from his predecessor, Luca di Montezemolo, back in 2014. As for Felisa, his retirement won’t affect his position on the company’s board as he will continue to serve as a technical adviser for the company - similar to Jean Todt, who was given the same title when he was replaced by Felisa as CEO in 2008.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

I’m not going to pretend to know the process behind decisions like this one because doing so would be futile. What I do know is that Ferrari has a new CEO in Sergio Marchionne who already has an incredible list of responsibilities on his plate. Let’s see here. We’ve already established his role as the chairman of FCA and Ferrari, but in addition to that, he’s also the chairman of CNH Industrial, which is considered as one of the world’s largest capital goods companies that was born from the merger of Fiat Industrial and Case New Holland. Oh, and if that’s not enough, he’s also the chairman of Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), a multinational company headquartered in Geneva,Switzerland that provides inspection, verification, testing and certification services. Now, he’s the new CEO of Ferrari? Clearly, this man is either impervious to pressure or he just likes to juggle all these responsibilities.

I’m willing to concede that Marchionne is a genius at what he does. He wouldn’t get all these responsibilities if he wasn’t. But, I also think that his run as CEO wontt last long. It’s not because he won’t be up-to-the-task; it’s because at some point, he needs to have some of the pressures of the job taken off of his plate. In this case, I think Ferrari will name a new CEO sooner than later, or at the very least, someone who can run point and handle the day-to-day affairs of the company who will, in turn, report directly to Marchionne himself.

It goes without saying that Ferrari is in a state of flux now. It just split off from FCA and it’s in the process of establishing its own corporate identity separate from its previous mother company. It also wants to position itself as more of a luxury brand, and if you haven’t been paying attention to Formula One, it also wants to rediscover its winning ways in the sport. I’m sure that Marchionne could accomplish all of those things if he dedicated his time to it.

But time, I’m afraid, is something that he won’t have enough of considering the number of responsibilities he has to deal with. Needless to say, I’m interested to see how this plays out.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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Press Release

Ferrari N.V. ("Ferrari" or "Company") (NYSE/MTA: RACE) announces the retirement of its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Amedeo Felisa, after 26 years of dedicated service. Mr. Sergio Marchionne will assume those responsibilities while retaining his current role as Chairman of the Company. Mr. Felisa will continue to serve on the Board of Directors of Ferrari with a specific mandate as technical advisor to the Company.

Sergio Marchionne had this to say: "I have known Amedeo for more than a decade and I have had the opportunity to work with him closely for the last two years. He is beyond any doubt one of the best automotive engineers in the world. During the last 26 years, he has worked tirelessly to fuel and guide Ferrari’s technical development, producing an array of cars which have set the standard for both performance and styling."

The Board of Directors wants to officially express its gratitude to Amedeo for his contributions and is delighted to be able to count on his services as technical advisor to the leadership team going forward.

These executive changes are effective immediately.

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