Ferrari Chief Luca di Montezemolo Will Resign as Fiat Chairman

Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo is a man of many titles — although he may soon have one less position to list on his resume. Di Montezemolo announced today that he will soon resign as the company’s chairman, a position he held for several years.

Although di Montezemolo is resigning as chairman of Fiat Group, he will remain a member on Fiat’s board of directors, and retain his position at Ferrari. Di Montezemolo joined Fiat in 1973 as the manager of Ferrari’s Formula 1 team, and has since held various posts throughout the Italian auto giant before becoming chairman in 2004.

Interestingly, di Montezemolo assumed his chairman position from a relative of Fiat founder Giovanni Agnelli, and will be succeeded by another Agnelli family member. John Elkann, who assumed the vice chairman position after his grandfather, Fiat chairman Gianni Agnelli died in 2003, will serve in di Montezemolo’s place.

Elkann is also chairman of Exor, the holding company controlled by the Agnelli family, which owns a 30-percent stake in the entire Fiat group. Elkann is known for hiring current CEO Sergio Marchionne in 2004 to lead Fiat back into profit, and for his desire to distance himself from the day-to-day operations of the automotive company after his predecessors nearly lead it into bankruptcy.

Di Montezemolo’s resignation is interesting, however, as it comes just one day before Fiat is scheduled to unveil its five-year business plan to stockholders and analysts. Fiat is reportedly looking to spin off its automotive operations from its core industrial businesses — a move that could give Marchionne more flexibility in running Fiat and Chrysler, but one di Montezemolo is rumored to have disagreed with.

Source: Detroit Free Press, Financial Times (Subscription required), The Wall Street Journal

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