TURIN - Paolo Caccamo has resigned as chairman of Italian specialist car designer and manufacturer Carrozzeria Bertone SpA to take a new position at I.DE.A. Institute SpA.
Caccamo's new job surprised the Italian design community here. In the past, only designers have moved between rival styling houses, not executives.
Caccamo, who joined I.DE.A. on September 18, arrives at an important stage of the company's development. I.DE.A. is Turin's youngest and fourth-largest design house behind Pininfarina, Bertone and Italdesign-Giugiaro.
In early August, Rieter Holding AG bought a controlling interest in I.DE.A. Rieter is a Swiss group that develops and manufactures acoustic control and thermal insulation products and interior trim.
The price of the transaction was not disclosed, but sources in Turin suggested Rieter paid between E20-25 million for a 60-70 percent stake.
Founder Franco Mantegazza will remain chairman of the I.DE.A. board. His wife Ursula will continue as CEO. Caccamo will be chairman of a specially created executive committee, with responsibility for day-to-day operations.
Caccamo, 60, comes from a mechanical engineering background. For 12 years he worked at British Leyland in Coventry, England, and at Leyland Innocenti in Milan.
At Innocenti, Caccamo rose to become technical director and member of the board.
In 1976 he moved to Bertone, which had designed the Italian version of the Mini for Innocenti.
Acting as chief executive officer, Caccamo became a close confidant of company head Nuccio Bertone. When Bertone died in spring 1997, Caccamo also became chairman of the company.
But Caccamo's fortunes took a downturn this June, when Bertone appointed Bruno Cena as CEO. Cena was formerly D-platform director at Fiat Auto, where he led development of the Alfa Romeo 156, Lancia Lybra and Alfa Romeo 147, the forthcoming 145/146 replacement.
Following Caccamo's resignation, Nuccio's widow Lilli Bertone has been appointed chairman of Bertone. She was previously vice chairman.