Ferrari CEO said to plan retirement

Tommaso Ebhardt

Ferrari NV Chief Executive Officer Amedeo Felisa is planning to retire following this week’s nomination of a new board of directors, as the Agnelli family tightens its grip on the recently listed company, according to people familiar with the matter.

Felisa, 69, plans to remain a board member and also keep another role at Ferrari, which was spun off from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV in January, said the people, who asked not to be named before an official announcement. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, who is also chairman of Ferrari, will probably take over for the moment as CEO at the supercar maker following Felisa’s retirement, the people said. The decision has not been finalized, and the plans could change. Ferrari representatives declined to comment.

Marchionne will need to figure out how Ferrari can expand its luxury business beyond just cars, which will be key to convincing investors of the brand’s potential. The shares have lost almost one-third of their value since the company’s New York Stock Exchange debut in October.

Marchionne orchestrated Ferrari’s spinoff from London-based Fiat Chrysler, announcing the move a few weeks after he took the chairman’s post in 2014. He replaced Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, who stepped down after more than two decades following clashes on strategy.

Felisa, who ran product development at Fiat Chrysler’s Alfa Romeo division before joining Ferrari, was one of Montezemolo’s closest aides for more than 20 years. Fellow veteran Mario Mairano is also planning to retire from his position as head of human resources at the end of this month, according to people familiar with the matter.

Marchionne, 63, isn’t the only car-industry executive to serve multiple roles. Carlos Ghosn is CEO of both French automaker Renault SA and Japanese alliance partner Nissan Motor Co., while Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche also leads the German company’s Mercedes-Benz luxury-vehicle division.

Still, the number of executive or board positions Marchionne holds is unusual. He’s also chairman of CNH Industrial NV, the truck and tractor maker spun off from Fiat in 2011; vice chairman of the Agnellis’ investment vehicle Exor SpA; chairman of SGS SA, the Swiss product-testing company that he led before the Agnellis picked him to run Fiat; and an independent director at cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc.

Ferrari shareholders will meet Friday in Amsterdam. Ferrari is legally registered in the Netherlands, as are Fiat Chrysler and CNH Industrial, which hold their annual shareholder meetings the same day and place.