TURIN – Luca Cordero di Montezemolo will quit as Fiat S.p.A. chairman, the company said in a statement Tuesday. Montezemolo will stay on Fiat Group's board and will remain chairman of the company's Ferrari sports car subsidiary.
Montezemolo is stepping down on the eve of the presentation of Fiat Group's 2010-2014 business plan because he has "completed the assignment given to him" when he was appointed chairman in May 2004, the statement says.
Montezemolo will go into politics, three sources close to the company said. They added that Montezemolo is quitting the post because he does not agree with CEO Sergio Marchionne's future strategy for the Italian industrial conglomerate's auto business.
Fiat vice chairman John Elkann will replace Montezemolo, sources said.
Elkann, 34, is chairman of the Agnelli family holding company Exor S.p.A, which controls 30 percent of Fiat, Italy's largest manufacturer. He is the grandson of former Fiat Chairman Giovanni Agnelli and was designated by his grandfather, who died in 2003, to succeed him as the leader of the family's business interests.
Fiat has called a press conference for this afternoon. Montezemolo, Elkann and Marchionne will take part in the press conference, the company said.
Marchionne is scheduled to announce the automaker's new five-year business plan tomorrow.
Montezemolo, 62, became Fiat group chairman in 2004. He has occupied a number of positions in the huge Fiat empire since joining Ferrari in 1973 as manager of the Formula One race team.
He comes from an old aristocratic family of the Italian region of Piedmont – the Marquises of Montezemolo who for generations served Italy's House of Savoy Royal family. He has often been linked to a career in Italian politics, with some reports suggesting he could run for the office of Italy's prime minister.
Bloomberg contributed to this report