Ferrari has turned to a top tech executive to be its new CEO and lead the company into the age of electric supercars.
Benedetto Vigna, currently the president of micro-electromechanical systems and sensor groups at the Geneva-based computer chip maker STMicroelectronics (STM), will take over as CEO September 1.
“His deep understanding of the technologies driving much of the change in our industry, and his proven innovation, business-building and leadership skills, will further strengthen Ferrari and its unique story of passion and performance, in the exciting era ahead,” said Ferrari Chairman John Elkann, who has been serving as interim CEO since previous top executive Louis Camilleri retired unexpectedly in December.
Vigna, 52, joined ST in 1995 and has specialized in connectivity, imaging and power solutions, with a focus on industrial and automotive market segments.
He will take the lead at a company known for building loud, gas guzzling performance cars at a time when most of the auto industry is rapidly moving towards electric vehicles. At the car maker’s annual meeting in April, Elkann announced plans for Ferrari to debut its first all-electric vehicle by 2025. It currently has a plug-in hyrbrid now available.
Ferrari (RACE) was spun-off from what was then Fiat Chrysler in 2016. Shares in the company have nearly quadrupled in value since the spinoff. Fiat Chrysler has gone on to merge with French automaker PSA Group to form Stellantis.
Elkann is a member of the Agnelli family, which controlled Fiat before its merger with Chrysler. He is also chairman and CEO of the family-owned company, Exor, which holds 14% of Stellantis and 24% of Ferrari shares.
Ferrari competitor Lamborghini announced last month that every one of its cars will have an electric motor by 2024, but it has yet to announce plans for a fully electric version of its supercar.
Ferrari was profitable last year. Although earnings were down in the face of the pandemic, the company rebounded to post a record profit in the fourth quarter and has projected another boost in profits this year. Ferrari is the ultimate niche automaker, selling only 9,119 cars in 2020, at an average price of roughly €300,000, or $370,000.
Some Ferraris can become long-term investments that appreciate in value, although the “average” Ferrari still depreciates like other cars. The most valuable classic car ever sold at auction was a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that fetched more than $48 million in 2018. Of the top 10 most valuable cars ever sold at auction, six are Ferraris.
In addition to guiding its car business, Vigna will also be tasked with reviving the fortunes of Ferrari’s Formula One team, which last year suffered its worst season since 1980.
– CNN Business’ Peter Valdes-Dapena contributed to this report