They say the bigger you are the harder you fall and they come no bigger than the soon-to-be former Chairman of Ferrari who was removed from his position by the parent company, Fiat.
Luca Di Montezemolo’s fall will surely have been softened somewhat with a severance pay estimated to be in the region of 27 million euro’s. By the time Di Montezemolo leaves later this year, half of his severance package will be paid in a lump sum by January 31st 2015. In return Di Montezemolo has agreed with Fiat to a non-compete clause until 2017. The remainder will be paid over a 20 year period.
Its not clear if Montezemolo quit or was forced out by Fiat CEO, Sergio Marchionne, the two have been at odds over the future direction of the Ferrari group. Both have publicly rebuked the other in a war of mellow words that ended with the defeat of Montezemolo at the Italian Grand Prix.
The Fiat boss used Ferrari’s underperforming F1 division as a pretext to terminate Di Montezemolo’s 23-year tenure at the top of one the most iconic auto brands in the world. Montezemolo’s severance package looks decidedly obscene but when you factor in how Di Montezemolo transformed a failing road car business in 1991 to a now thriving supercar empire then the 27 million euro payout is a just reward.
Di Montezemolo’s departure will bring to an end a life long passion for Ferrari and write a unique and perhaps unmatched chapter in Ferrari’s history. The new Era will be spearheaded by Sergio Marchionne who has plans to increase production from 7,000 cars per year to 10,000. Marchionne wants to tap into the globalised and growing super-rich market and even plans to increase production of the $1.3 million dollar LaFerrari Hypercar to keep up with demand.
Di Montezemolo was fiercely protective of Ferrari’s independence and autonomy despite being 90 percent owned by Fiat, Marchionne’s plan is to further integrate Ferrari into all of Fiat’s road car group including Chrysler and especially Alfa Romeo.