Stefano Domenicali Could Become Lamborghini’s New CEO
Stephan Winkelmann will reportedly step down as CEO of Lamborghini after 11 years in charge of the Italian sports car company. According to reports from Italy, he will be replaced by Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari’s former Formula One team manager, who joined Audi in 2014 to spearhead the German brand’s F1 entry.
With Audi having shut down the Formula One program, Domenicali is now rumored to change to Lamborghini, while Winkelmann will head over to Audi to take over the Quattro division in Neckarsulm, which is responsible for both the R8 supercar and high-performance RS models. Quattro is currently headed by Peter Hollwerweger, 63, who is preparing to retire.
Winkelmann has been in charge of Lamborghini since January 1st, 2005, being appointed president and CEO of the company, six years after the Volkswagen Group purchased the brand. The 51-year-old started his automotive career at Mercedes-Benz and moved to Fiat in 1994. He spent 10 years with the Italians, being appointed CEO of the company’s Austrian, Swiss and German operations.
Meanwhile, Domenicali joined Ferrari in 1991, immediately after graduating from Bologna University. Having studied business administration, he initially worked in the company’s fiscal administration. Between 1992 to 1994, he was race director at Mugello and in 1995 he was appointed head of personnel in Ferrari’s sporting department. A year later he was promoted to team manager. Domenicali became Maranello’s sporting director in 2002 and in 2008 he replaced Jean Todt as Formula One team principal. He remained there until he resigned in April 2014.
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Why it matters
Credited with growing Lamborghini’s sales from 1,600 to over 2,500 units per year and turning the company into a global player over the past decade, Winkelmann could be a real asset for Audi Quattro. Although the division does quite well, the Germans want to further expand the RS lineup and surpass BMW’s M and Mercedes’ AMG in terms of annual sales. That’s an ambitious goal, but Winkelmann could be the right man to achieve it.
As for Domenicali’s move to Lamborghini, it doesn’t make much sense from a marketing point of view. That doesn’t mean Lambo can’t benefit from his huge experience at Ferrari, but Domenicali seems like the kind of leader you’d want on the race track rather than in an office. It’s very unlikely, but maybe Lamborghini is thinking about joining Formula One in a few years. We’ll probably find out more as these moves become official.