What does Nintendo's Wii games console have in common with a Ferrari console -- beyond both having small screens, or the fact that the Super Mario character from Wii's most popular video games drove a car from the iconic brand?
The answer is Benedetto Vigna, the Italian executive chosen by Ferrari Chairman John Elkann as the automaker's new CEO.
Vigna is currently president of the Analog, MEMS (Micro-electromechanical Systems) and Sensors Group at the French-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics.
Vigna's team devised and put into production a miniaturized accelerometer which was one of the key innovations of the Nintendo Wii launched in 2006. They also devised a miniaturized 3-axes gyroscope which debuted in the iPhone 4, featuring in a popular 2010 presentation by Steve Jobs.
Vigna, 53, has spent his whole career in STMicroelectronics in the MEMS division. So, how can a 22-year career in designing and successfully marketing high-end chips and sensors, mostly used in consumer electronics, prepare you to lead the world's most famous supercar maker?
The appointment has raised eyebrows among industry watchers. "A semi[conductor]s guy who did his thesis on quantum quarks and has hundreds of patents to his name ... running Ferrari? We live in extraordinary times," Morgan Stanley analysts commented in a note to investors.
One answer could be the success Vigna has had at STMicro matching technical prowess with marketing capabilities. Apple is its biggest customer, according to the latest company presentation. Nintendo is also among the top 10.
Another answer comes from the name of another top 10 STMicro customer, Tesla, which epitomizes the growing electric and digital revolution in the auto industry.
"Appointing someone relatively young and from the technology field sets the tone for where Ferrari is headed," Tom Narayan, an RBC Capital Markets analyst, told Bloomberg. "The biggest issues this company will face in our view over the next decade will be adapting to the changing auto technology landscape as a luxury brand."