Ferrari has appointed an electrical components specialist as its executive director, a surprise appointment that ends a search that began late last year when its former boss Louis Camilleri resigned with Covid-19.
The new head Benedetto Vigna, an Italian, is the head of the sensor unit at STMicroelectronics, the largest and most profitable division of the technology group. He will join the supercar maker in September.
Vigna has been at STMicroelectronics since 1995, founding the division he heads, which is now the same size in revenue and employees as Ferrari.
He specializes in motion sensors and was part of the team that invented the three-axis gyroscopes that change the screen ratio on a phone when it is rotated.
The same technology that debuted in the iPhone 4 is now common in navigation systems in most modern cars, while Vigna has driven the ST push to provide the automotive industry with a range of technologies.
Yet their appointment is a big surprise, without having a direct car or a luxury experience. Candidates nominated for the position include a number of established luxury executives.
“The appointment is very unexpected and, in our opinion, reflects the need to‘ reinvent ’Ferrari and the difficulty of securing candidates willing to take up the task,” said Philippe Houchois, auto analyst at Jefferies.
“Having said that, we should not underestimate the strategic thinking of Ferrari and Exor president John Elkann,” he said.
Exor, which runs Elkann, owns 36 percent of Ferrari’s voting rights, as well as 14 percent of Stellantis, the car formed by the merger of Fiat Chrysler and PSA of France this year.
Elkann is known for his spotting talent after choosing then-unknown Sergio Marchionne to manage the almost-failed Fiat in 2004.
Over the next 14 years Marchionne transformed the business into a € 200 billion empire, including the acquisition of Chrysler and the rotation of Ferrari and CNH Industrials as separate businesses.
Speaking Wednesday at the announcement, Elkann said that “the deep understanding of the technologies driving much of the change in our industry and Vineyard, and its proven innovation, business creation and leadership capabilities, will also strengthen Ferrari and her unique story of passion and performance, in the exciting era ahead ”.
Vigna called his appointment a “special honor” and said he joins “with a deep sense of responsibility towards the extraordinary achievements and capabilities of Ferrari’s men and women, all of the company’s stakeholders. and to everyone in the world for whom Ferrari has such a unique passion ”.