Montezemolo has a long history with both Fiat and Ferrari. He started his career at the former before moving over to the latter in 1973 (only a few years Fiat took over half of Ferrari), starting out as Enzo Ferrari's assistant. He was appointed head of the Scuderia the following year, driving the team to success and subsequently taking over all of the Fiat group's racing activities. After the Prancing Horse marque struggled in the wake of its founder's death in 1988, Montezemolo was appointed to take it over in '91 and has been at the helm ever since.
Following Fiat chairman Gianni Agnelli's passing in 2003, both Montezemolo and Marchionne were named to the Fiat board. A year later, after the passing of Gianni's younger brother Umberto, Montezemolo was named chairman of the Fiat Group (to be succeeded six years later by Agnelli heir John Elkann) and Marchionne its chief executive.
The two senior leaders ran their own shows more or less independently over the years since, but recently began clashing over a number of issues. For one, Ferrari has fallen way off its pace in Formula One, not having won a title since 2008 or a single race this entire season despite having two former champions – a failure which Marchionne has characterized as unacceptable. For another, Marchionne and Montezemolo have reportedly been at odds over Ferrari's place under the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles umbrella. Fiat owns 90 percent of Ferrari, but has traditionally allowed it to operate with a large degree of independence that may be coming to an end as the group grows.
As a result, Montezemolo has announced he's stepping down from the chairmanship of Ferrari, effective on October 13 – tellingly, the same day on which FCA intends to launch its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. This despite Montezemolo's insistence just this past weekend that he had no intention of leaving the company and its presidency.
Marchionne, who already divides his time between Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, MI, and Fiat HQ in Turin, Italy, will – for the time being at least – take over Montezemolo's seat at the head of the scarlet table, but will likely delegate more to other senior Ferrari executives like CEO Amadeo Felisa and vice-chairman Piero Ferrari for day-to-day operations in Maranello until a more permanent solution can be found.
Luca Cordero di Montezemolo has announced his intention to resign as Chairman of Ferrari with effect from October 13th following completion of Ferrari's celebration of 60 years in America.
Fiat CEO, Sergio Marchionne, will take over as Chairman of Ferrari.
Since 1991, Ferrari achieved significant results under Montezemolo's chairmanship in terms of both financial performance and its standing in the world of racing. Under his leadership, Ferrari boasted a world-class team and numerous record-setting achievements.
"On behalf of my family and myself, I would like to thank Luca for all he has done for both Fiat and Ferrari", said Fiat Chairman, John Elkann. He held several key positions with the Group, including serving as Chairman of Fiat from 2004 to 2010, and we shared many challenging but also rewarding moments. Luca leaves us with my most sincere and heartfelt wishes for his future professional endeavors and the hope, I am certain shared by us both, that Ferrari will return to victory very soon."
"Luca and I were appointed to the Fiat Board of Directors on the very same day back in 2003", said Fiat CEO, Sergio Marchionne. "One year later, he became Chairman and I became CEO. We worked side by side, sharing concerns, difficulties and successes. As Chairman of Ferrari, he drove the company to a new level of technological and organizational excellence which also brought with it outstanding financial results. Luca and I have discussed the future of Ferrari at length. And our mutual desire to see Ferrari achieve its true potential on the track has led to misunderstandings which became clearly visible over the last weekend. I want to thank Luca for all he has done for Fiat, for Ferrari and for me personally."
Turin, 10 September 2014
Statement from Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo
"Ferrari will have an important role to play within the FCA Group in the upcoming flotation on Wall Street. This will open up a new and different phase which I feel should be spearheaded by the CEO of the Group.
This is the end of an era and so I have decided to leave my position as Chairman after almost 23 marvellous and unforgettable years in addition to those spent at Enzo Ferrari's side in the 1970s.
My thanks, first and foremost, to the exceptional Ferrari women and men from the factory, the offices, the race tracks and the markets across the world. They were the real architects of the company's spectacular growth, its many unforgettable victories and its transformation into one of the world's strongest brands.
A warm farewell and my thanks also to all of our technical and commercial partners, our dealers across the globe and, most particularly, the clients and collectors whose passion I so wholeheartedly share.
But my thoughts go also to our fans who have always supported us with great enthusiasm especially through the Scuderia's most difficult moments.
Ferrari is the most wonderful company in the world. It has been a great privilege and honour to have been its leader. I devoted all of my enthusiasm and commitment to it over the years. Together with my family, it was, and continues to be, the most important thing in my life.
I wish the shareholders, particularly Piero Ferrari who has always been by my side, and everyone in the Company the many more years of success that Ferrari deserves."
Maranello, 10th September 2014.