Luxury sports car producer Ferrari says Louis Camilleri, its chief executive, has resigned for personal reasons. Until a replacement is elected, Chairman John Elkann will take over, Ferrari said in a statement late Thursday. After the death of longtime CEO Sergio Marchionne, Camilleri, who took over as CEO in 2018, is also stepping down as chairman of Phillip Morris International, one of Ferrari’s biggest sponsors.
The position will be taken by Chairman John Elkann on an interim basis. Just 30 months after choosing Camilleri, he must find a new chief to succeed Sergio Marchionne, who died from complications after surgery in July 2018.
A person familiar with the matter said that Camilleri was stricken with COVID-19 and was convalescing after being hospitalised at home. But the person emphasised that the reason for his retirement was personal, not health-related, speaking only on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to disclose information.
Camilleri launched a business strategy when he took over as CEO, which included reviving classic models embedded with Formula One technology and expanding the electric-gasoline hybrid powertrain offerings of Ferrari.
Ferrari, headquartered in Emilia Romagna, one of Italy’s hardest-hit coronavirus areas, posted flat third-quarter profits as a result of the shutdown of production in Italy.
In the quarter, net profits were EUR 171 million ($200 million), compared to EUR 169 million at the same time last year. Shipments, to 2,313 vehicles, were down by 161 units.
When he took over as CEO from Marchionne, who died within days of being replaced, Camilleri was a Ferrari board member. Ferrari’s 2016 Fiat Chrysler spin-off, where he also acted as CEO, was orchestrated by Marchionne.
Ferrari handled the pandemic better than anticipated, fielding orders at rates close to last year for its six- and seven-figure supercars, the company said in November.
Camilleri oversaw the transformation of Ferrari into a fully-fledged luxury company during his tenure as CEO. He redesigned the lineup of Ferrari so it could continue to raise costs. In 2019, the company launched five new models, which helped for the first time to boost annual sales to more than 10,000 units.
“In a letter to workers, Elkann said, “Louis demonstrated an unwavering sense of duty to ensure stability for our company while leading Ferrari into the future with an ambitious and far-sighted strategic plan.
With 36% of its voting rights and a direct 23% stake, Exor NV, the investment firm for the Agnelli family, owns Ferrari. In 2015, the supercar manufacturer was listed in New York.