Ferrari is facing its second leadership crisis in a little over two years after CEO Louis Camilleri abruptly resigned, complicating the Italian supercar maker’s transition toward electric mobility.
Ferrari Chairman John Elkann will take the CEO role on an interim basis. He has to find a new leader just 30 months after he picked Camilleri to succeed Sergio Marchionne, who died in July 2018 from complications after a surgery.
In a statement, Ferrari said Camilleri, 65, has retired with immediate effect for personal reasons.
Camilleri’s decision came after the executive suffered health problems, which made it necessary to hospitalize him for COVID-19 in recent weeks. He is now recovering at home. A Ferrari spokesman said Camilleri’s illness was not the “main reason” for his retirement, but didn’t elaborate.
Ferrari’s board is identifying a permanent successor to Camilleri, it said in the statement on Thursday.
Formula One dismissed rumors that Stefano Domenicali could be in the running for the Ferrari CEO job. Domenicali quit his post as Lamborghini CEO in September and starts his new job as F1 chief on Jan. 1
The process to choose and appoint a new Ferrari CEO will not be rushed and will take the appropriate time required, according to sources.
During Camilleri’s tenure, Ferrari was one of the best-performing stocks in the automotive sector, as demand for the company’s high performance cars remained strong despite the coronavirus pandemic. Ferrari shares have hit record levels, with those listed on Milan stock exchange touching an all-time high of $222.05 last month.
Camilleri was also leading a careful effort to expand the Ferrari vehicle lineup and the use of its brand, without undermining the exclusivity that supported its premium pricing and profit. The company introduced five new models in 2019, which helped increase annual sales to more than 10,000 units for the first time.
One looming question for his successor is how Ferrari will cope with more stringent emissions regulations in the European Union and other markets. While the company has said that 60 percent of its models will have a hybrid powertrain by 2022, Camilleri has expressed doubts the brand would go fully electric.
Elkann told employees the company respected Camilleri’s decision to retire. “It is with great regret that I, and all of us in the Ferrari family, have learned of Louis Camilleri’s decision to step down for personal reasons from his role as our Chief Executive,” Elkann said in a letter.