Ferrari is facing its second leadership crisis in a little over two years after CEO Louis Camilleri abruptly resigned, complicating the Italian supercar maker's transition toward electric mobility.
Ferrari Chairman John Elkann will take the CEO role on an interim basis. He has to find a new leader just 30 months after he picked Camilleri to succeed Sergio Marchionne, who died in July 2018 from complications after a surgery.
In a statement, Ferrari said Camilleri, 65, has retired with immediate effect for personal reasons.
Camilleri's decision came after the executive suffered health problems, which made it necessary to hospitalize him for COVID-19 in recent weeks. He is now recovering at home. A Ferrari spokesman said Camilleri’s illness was not the "main reason" for his retirement, but didn’t elaborate.
Ferrari's board is identifying a permanent successor to Camilleri, it said in the statement on Thursday.
Formula One dismissed rumors that Stefano Domenicali could be in the running for the Ferrari CEO job. Domenicali quit his post as Lamborghini CEO in September and starts his new job as F1 chief on Jan. 1
Domenicali is looking forward to the new challenge, an F1 spokesman said on Friday. "Stefano is joining Formula One on the first of January and is looking forward to this new and exciting challenge. Any rumor or speculation otherwise is wrong," the spokesman said.
Domenicali, a former head of Ferrari's racing team, was among names mentioned by Italian media as a possible successor.
Camilleri was a Ferrari board member when he took over as CEO in July 2018, succeeding Marchionne, who fell ill following complications from surgery and died within days of being replaced. Marchionne orchestrated Ferrari's 2016 spinoff from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, where he also served as CEO.
During Camilleri's tenure, Ferrari was one of the best-performing stocks in the automotive sector, as demand for the company's high performance cars remained strong despite the coronavirus pandemic. Ferrari shares have hit record levels, with those listed on Milan stock exchange touching an all-time high of 182.95 euros ($222.05) last month.
Camilleri was also leading a careful effort to expand the Ferrari vehicle lineup and the use of its brand, without undermining the exclusivity that supported its premium pricing and profit. The company introduced five new models in 2019, which helped increase annual sales to more than 10,000 units for the first time.
Born in Egypt, Camilleri attended boarding school in England and the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.