An engineer by training, Felisa has been with the company for 26 years, and some form of Fiat for nearly 50, having come to Maranello in 1990 after two decades at Alfa Romeo. He took charge of Ferrari's road-car division in 2001, was named general manager in 2006, and got the CEO job in 2008 after Jean Todt left to run for president of the FIA. Felisa's role as chief executive was seen as all the more important after Luca di Montezemolo was shown the door. Rumors persisted recently that Felisa was on his way out.
With Felisa gone, Marchionne will be left running the company more directly than he has been as chairman for the past two years since supplanting Montezemolo. As it is, Marchionne serves as CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, chairman of CNH Industrial (the merged entity of Fiat Industrial and Case New Holland), and directly runs the NAFTA region for FCA, splitting his time between offices in Detroit, Turin, and Maranello.
We wouldn't be surprised, then, to see Ferrari name a new CEO, or at least a senior manager to run the day to day and take some of the pressure off Marchionne, as adept as he's proven at wearing multiple hats. The company is in the process of reforming itself as a corporate entity separate from FCA, positioned more as a luxury brand, and is seeking to rediscover its former winning form on the racetrack. In the meantime, while Felisa steps down with immediate effect, he will remain on the board – his term having recently been renewed – as a technical advisor, just as Todt did before him.
Maranello (Italy), 2 May 2016 – Ferrari N.V. ("Ferrari" or "Company") (NYSE/MTA: RACE) announces the retirement of its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Amedeo Felisa, after 26 years of dedicated service. Mr. Sergio Marchionne will assume those responsibilities while retaining his current role as Chairman of the Company. Mr. Felisa will continue to serve on the Board of Directors of Ferrari with a specific mandate as technical advisor to the Company.
Sergio Marchionne had this to say: "I have known Amedeo for more than a decade and I have had the opportunity to work with him closely for the last two years. He is beyond any doubt one of the best automotive engineers in the world. During the last 26 years, he has worked tirelessly to fuel and guide Ferrari's technical development, producing an array of cars which have set the standard for both performance and styling."
The Board of Directors wants to officially express its gratitude to Amedeo for his contributions and is delighted to be able to count on his services as technical advisor to the leadership team going forward.
These executive changes are effective immediately.