CEO Louis Camilleri retires from Ferrari, or was he ousted? (Update)

Ferrari NV Chief Executive Louis Camilleri resigned unexpectedly from the Italian luxury sports-car maker after being hospitalized for Covid-19 for a few weeks. He is now back at home in New York recovering.

On Thursday, Mr. Camilleri also resigned with immediate effect as chairman of Philip Morris International Inc. where he had been employed for four decades. Mr. Camilleri, 65, has left the hospital and is finishing his recovery at home, according to a person familiar with the situation. Ferrari said he had resigned for unspecified personal reasons.

John Elkann, Ferrari’s chairman and the head of the Italian family that owns a controlling stake in the car marker, will take over as CEO until a permanent replacement can be found. Mr. Camilleri is also resigning from Ferrari’s board.

Camilleri joined the company in July 2018 as the successor to Sergio Marchionne. In August this year, the 65-year-old claimed “stability and focus” were required from the top down to return the Scuderia to winning ways.

Under Mr. Camilleri’s leadership, Ferrari continued a long string of strong financial results.

If there has been a black mark on his time at Ferrari, it has been the inability of the company’s Formula One racing team to return to its winning ways. The current season, which wraps up with a final race this weekend, has been particularly disappointing for Formula One’s most storied team. Mr. Marchionne often spoke of the importance of having a winning Ferrari racing team to help sustain the company’s brand.

Commenting on his departure, Camilleri said: “Ferrari has been a part of my life and serving as its chief executive has been a great privilege.

“My admiration for the extraordinary men and women of Maranello and for the passion and dedication they apply to everything they do knows no bounds.

“I’m proud of the company’s numerous achievements since 2018 and know that Ferrari’s best years are still to come.”

January 16, 2019 

John Elkann, chairman of Ferrari RACE.MI and main shareholder Exor EXOR.MI, reiterated his support for Ferrari chief executive Louis Camilleri, denying speculation a top management purge could be on the cards.

“I deny all rumors about both a possible return to the past and changes in our structure,” Elkann, a scion of Italy’s Agnelli family, said in a letter published on Wednesday in Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport.

“My commitment to ensuring stability and concentration at Ferrari is total as is that of CEO Louis Camilleri,” he said.