Not the best driver, not the best manager: the surprising new Ferrari acquisition to run the company

The Ferrari logo, with its famous “Prancing Horse”, seen on the grill of a Ferrari GTC4Lusso car at the 86th International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 1, 2016. (REUTERS / Denis Balibouse / Photo by file)

Ferrari, the famous Italian sports car manufacturer, chose a technology executive to navigate the transition to automotive electrification, and named Benedetto Vigna as its new CEO.

The 52-year-old Italian is currently member of the executive committee of the French chip manufacturer STMicroelectronics and director of his Sensors Group, MEMS (Microelectromechanical and Analog Systems).

Vigna will join the Maranello home on September 1, 2021. His appointment fills a six-month vacancy at the helm of Ferrari, where the former CEO Louis Camilleri he retired in December for personal reasons, after being in office for nearly two and a half years.

The president of Ferrari, John Elkann, a descendant of the Agnelli family and who has run the company on an interim basis since Camilleri resigned, said that the company was “delighted” to welcome Vigna as its new CEO.

“His deep understanding of the technologies that drive much of the change in our industry, and his proven innovation, business development and leadership skills will further strengthen Ferrari and its unique history of passion and performance in the exciting era ahead, ”Elkann said in a statement Wednesday.

Ferrari is controlled by the Agnelli family through its investment firm Exor. Elkann is also president of Stellantis, the company born from the recent merger between Fiat Chrysler and PSA, the French group that includes Peugeot, Citroen and Opel.

Ferrari president John Elkann during the presentation of the Formula 1 car SF1000 in 2020 (Ferrari press via REUTERS)
Ferrari president John Elkann during the presentation of the Formula 1 car SF1000 in 2020 (Ferrari press via REUTERS)

“It is an extraordinary honor to join Ferrari as CEO and I do it in equal measure with enthusiasm and responsibility. Enthusiastic about the great opportunities that we will be able to take advantage of ”, said Vigna. “And with a deep sense of responsibility towards extraordinary results and abilities of the Ferrari men and women, from all the company’s stakeholders and from those who, around the world, have a unique passion for Ferrari ”.

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Benedetto Vigna’s priority, he added, “it will ensure that Ferrari continues to strengthen its leadership as the creator of the most beautiful and technologically advanced cars in the world ”.

With extensive international experience working with some of the world’s leading technology companies, Vigna, 52 years old, was born in the province of Potenza, in the small town of Pietrapertosa, and graduated in physics from the University of Pisa.

Benedetto Vigna, new CEO of Ferrari (Ferrari via REUTERS)
Benedetto Vigna, new CEO of Ferrari (Ferrari via REUTERS)

He joined STMicroelectronics in 1995 and founded the company’s MEMS businesses. “His extensive knowledge, the result of more than 26 years of experience in the heart of the semiconductor industry, which is rapidly transforming the automotive sector, accelerate Ferrari’s ability to break new ground in the application of next-generation technologies”Said the house of Prancing Horse.

Choosing an executive with strong semiconductor and chip experience indicates that Ferrari prepares to jump into the technology industry Y the electrical transformation of their cars. What’s more, automakers and other industries have been beset by severe semiconductor shortages as economies reopen after the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ferrari SF90 Stradale, one of the company's hybrid models.  It has four engines, three electric and a gasoline V8.  (Ferrari via REUTER)
The Ferrari SF90 Stradale, one of the company’s hybrid models. It has four engines, three electric and a gasoline V8. (Ferrari via REUTER)

“The appointment is very unexpected and, in our opinion, reflects the need to ‘reinvent’ Ferrari and the difficulty of finding candidates willing to take on the task”, said to Reuters Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois in a research note.

Ferrari, which already offers hybrid models, promised its first fully electric car by 2025.

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In April, Elkann said that Ferrari’s new CEO should have “All the right qualities, including, most importantly, technological capabilities”, downplaying initial speculation that the new boss might have a background in luxury or retail.

(With information from Reuters, EFE, AFP)

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