Ferrari has appointed electronics pioneer Benedetto Vigna as CEO as the company prepares for the age of electric vehicles.
Vigna will join Ferrari on September 1 from semiconductor firm STMicroelectronics, where he is head of its sensor group.
The Italian sports car maker announced the appointment in a statement Wednesday. Former CEO Louis Camilleri resigned for personal reasons in December after a reported battle with Covid-19.
Ferrari said Vigna has experience working for some of the world’s leading technology companies. But the 52-year-old Italian’s appointment has come as a surprise to many given that he has not previously worked for an auto company or a luxury brand.
“The appointment is very unexpected and, in our opinion, reflects the need to ‘reinvent’ Ferrari and the difficulty of finding candidates willing to take on the task,” Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois said in a note.
As part of a drive for sustainability, automakers around the world are moving away from internal combustion engines and toward electric vehicles that generally run on lithium-ion batteries. European automakers are trying to catch up with Tesla, which has become a household name in the electric vehicle market.
The unit Vigna currently heads has revenues similar to Ferrari as a whole and was the company’s most profitable operating division last year.
Vigna graduated from the University of Pisa with a degree in physics. He started at STMicroelectronics in 1995 and helped the company become one of the leaders in motion sensors.
He was part of the team that around 2010 invented three-axis gyros that change the screen ratio on a phone when it is rotated, according to the Financial Times.
Ferrari Chairman John Elkann said in a statement that Vigna’s “deep understanding of the technologies that drive much of the change in our industry, and his proven innovation, business building and leadership skills, will further strengthen Ferrari. and his unique story of passion and performance ”. in the exciting era that is coming. “
Vigna said in a statement that “it is a special honor to join Ferrari as its CEO and I do so with the same sense of excitement and responsibility.”
“Excitement for the great opportunities there are to be captured,” he added. “And with a deep sense of responsibility towards the extraordinary achievements and capabilities of the men and women of Ferrari, towards all the company’s stakeholders and towards everyone around the world for whom Ferrari is a unique passion.”