The man who helped make the iPhone feel sidelined is taking on the CEO of Ferrari NV, highlighting the growing dominance of technology in the car industry, which has been undergoing a profound transformation for more than a century.
Renowned Italian super carmaker on Wednesday announced that 52-year-old Benedetto Vigna had hired chip maker STMicroelectronics NV from September. 1. The appointment is very important among automakers who have recently looked at this sector and have not been named technology leaders.
(Also read: Ferrari needs speed. And the desire for sustainable mobility)
“Naming someone relatively young and in the technology field sets the tone for Ferrari’s direction,” said Tom Narayan, RBC Capital Markets Analyst. “One of the biggest problems we believe this company will face in the next decade will be to adapt the landscape of automotive technology as a luxury brand.”
Ferrari’s main job was in one of the most enviable positions in the automotive industry before sharper emission limits and the demand for high-tech gadgets began to rise in the industry.
While the CEO’s job is still an attractive position – the company has been relatively isolated from those pressures due to its luxurious brilliance and heritage – Ferrari’s slow embrace of electric cars has begun to weigh heavily on its rich valuation. This puts pressure on Vigna, a purist engineer associated with combustion engines, and an Italian automaker who demands a battery-powered future in the same way they do with Porsche or Lamborghini.
(Also read: Ferrari sells $ 500,000 hybrid supercar as cheap everyday driving)
Ferrari shares fell to 1.1% in Milan trading. Shares have fallen by about 5% this year, less than those like Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG, which has boosted excitement about electric vehicles.
“The appointment is highly unexpected and, in our view, reflects the need to‘ reinvent ’Ferrari and the difficulty of getting candidates willing to perform the task,” Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois said in a statement.
At STMicro, Vigna has pioneered display sensor technology in the iPhone 4, a smartphone and vehicle navigation system that is now widely used worldwide. In addition to leading STMicro’s analog sensor team, it will replace its most profitable unit, John Elkann, to replace President Ferrari, who has been interim CEO since December.
Ferrari debuted its first hybrid plug in 2019, when CEO Louis Camilleri said many customers had trouble imagining the battery-powered car as a true Ferrari. Elkann recently outlined plans for a fully electric model for 2025, just years after Porsch unveiled the Taycan model.
The choice of an executive with a strong background in sensors and software signals will change rapidly for the Ferrari technology industry, having previously measured up with luxury goods manufacturers such as Hermes International or the conglomerate LVMH. Appointing a chip manufacturer’s executive is a serious challenge for automakers to address the semiconductor shortage.
Vigna “will have a deep understanding of the technologies that drive many changes in our industry and its proven innovation, business building and leadership skills that will enhance Ferrari and its unique story of passion and performance in an exciting future,” Elkann said. in a statement.
It is not the first time that Elkann, who leads the family of the Agnelli Clan Empire, is attacking an outsider for difficult tasks in the Automotive sector. Former Fiat and Ferrari leaders Sergio Marchionne joined SGS SA in 2004 as a Geneva-based product testing company, successfully transforming Fiat and eventually merging with Chrysler. Camilleri was also an outsider – Ferrari was already sitting on the board – having previously worked in Philip Morris cigarette making.
The three-dimensional motion sensors created by Vigna at STMicro played a critical role in upgrading both mobile phones and video game consoles like the Nintendo Wii.
The company has also become a major player in the automotive industry, feeding components to German mega supplier Robert Bosch GmbH and electric car maker Tesla Inc. Vigna’s MEMS & Sensors division generated revenue of $ 3,898 million last year and a nearly 21% operating margin.
“Benedetto combined strong leadership and technical skills with a tremendous human warmth that allows him to be a true leader,” Pasquale Pistorio, a former STMicro president who had Vigna as his tutor, said in a telephone interview.
Removing high-power combustion engines for the customer will be a complicated feat, although it shows that Porsche’s experience with Taycan can be done. After going on sale in 2019, shipments have almost leveled off with the iconic 911. The model attracts a large number of new buyers.
Italian rival Rival Lamborghini announced last month that it will offer plug-in hybrid versions of each model by 2024 in its range – from the best-selling Urus SUV to the right track Aventador.
Ferrari will provide details about its future on Capital Markets Day 2022, the year of major new product launches, Elkann said earlier this year. Purosangue – the brand’s first SUV – “is doing something special,” said the president of Exor NV.
In May, the automaker delayed long-term profit targets as it adjusted spending to respond to the pandemic. Ferrari had a profit of at least 1.8 trillion euros in 2022 before taxes, depreciation and amortization and now a year later it plans to achieve that and other goals.
This story has been published without text changes from a wireless agency feed.
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