By Christopher A. Sawyer
After 23 years at the helm, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo has left Ferrari; left as in pushed out the door. For Montezemolo it was an ironic end to a career that began with the wunderkind modernizing the Ferrari F1 team for Enzo Ferrari and leading it to success after years of failure, and ended with him lobbying for a return to rules more favorable to Maranello, as he steered Ferrari’s car division to record profits. He jealously guarded the Prancing Horse’s image and position, but was blind to the needs of the rest of the organization as it seeks Ferrari’s help to extricate itself from a huge pile of debt.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is about to embark on an IPO that will see its shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Despite having the U.S. government essentially give Chrysler to Fiat for nothing, FCA has debts of nearly $3 billion and a number of stagnant brands. It needs the IPO to be a success if it is to raise the money necessary to right this ship, though it will also have to consider eliminating some brands to streamline the organization. Floating a large minority stake in Ferrari on the NYSE should help raise at least $1.0 billion dollars, and put a significant dent in FCA’s debt. However, it can’t do that if the face of Ferrari, it’s F1 team, is struggling to finish outside of the podium positions week after week.