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Ferrari’s CEO Camilleri will be a hard act to follow

Ferrari was dealing with a fresh challenge of finding a new leader of the same standing as CEO Louis Camilleri on Friday, just as the Italian luxury automaker is presenting new hybrid models and getting ready for its first-ever SUV.

CEO Louis Camilleri, 65, retired with immediate effect mentioning personal reasons on Thursday, after being in the role for almost two and a half years.

Chairman John Elkann, the scion of Italy’s Agnelli family, will lead the company on an interim basis until a permanent successor is found.

It was not long before names of possible candidates were found.

A spokesman for F1 rejected rumors that the former head of Ferrari’s racing team and ex-Lamborghini chief Stefano Domenicali could take Camilleri’s role. He said that he was looking forward to starting his new job as F1 CEO on January 1 as planned.

A source close to former Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao also said media reports regarding him as a candidate for Ferrari’s top job were baseless.

Besides Domenicali and Colao, Italian media mentioned other names including Apple CFO Luca Maestri and Apple former Chief Design Officer Jonathan Paul Ive as possible candidates.

Although Camilleri’s sudden departure comes at an unfortunate time for the automaker, the appointment of a replacement was not likely to be rushed.

Like Camilleri, who had years of experience in the tobacco and food industries before leading Ferrari, a new CEO does not need to be an automotive expert.

Ferrari is often seen by experts and investors as a luxury goods maker instead of an automotive specialist, and as well as leading Ferrari’s continued effort to expand its vehicle lineup to hybrid technology, last year Camilleri released a plan to widen the brand to apparel, accessories, entertainment offers, luxury products, and services.

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