Ferrari taps chipmaker exec as CEO

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Italian luxury sports car manufacturer Ferrari is tapping STMicroelectronics executive Benedetto Vigna to serve as the automaker's next chief executive officer. 

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Vigna, who is set to join Ferrari on Sept. 1, currently serves as the electronics and semiconductor manufacturer's president of analog, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and sensors group, its most profitable operating business in 2020. He is also a member of ST Group's executive committee.

Benedetto Vigna, who has been appointed the CEO of Ferrari on June 9, 2021, poses in this undated handout photo. Ferrari/Handout via REUTERS  (Reuters)

The 52-year-old joined STMicroelectronics in 1995, founding the company's micro-electromechanical systems activities and establishing the company's market leadership in motion-activated user interfaces. His responsibilities were later expanded to include connectivity and imaging and power solutions. Vigna has led the firm through a series of successful moves into new business areas, with a particular focus on the industrial and automotive market segments.

"It’s a special honour to be joining Ferrari as its CEO and I do so with an equal sense of excitement and responsibility. Excitement at the great opportunities that are there to be captured," Vigna said in a statement. "And with a profound sense of responsibility towards the extraordinary achievements and capabilities of the men and women of Ferrari, to all the company’s stakeholders and to everyone around the world for whom Ferrari is such a unique passion."

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The appointment signals Ferrari’s focus on new technologies shaping an automotive world in transition, as the importance of electric powertrains, autonomous driving technologies and in-car connectivity is growing. Ferrari has announced that its first fully electric supercar will be launched in 2025.

The company said in a news release that Vigna's priority will be to "ensure that Ferrari continues to build on its leadership position as the creator of the world’s most beautiful and technically advanced cars" and that his 26-year knowledge in the semiconductor industry will "accelerate Ferrari’s ability to pioneer the application of next generation technologies."

Vigna will be Ferrari's third CEO in three years, following the resignation of Louis Camilleri in December after a bout with COVID-19 and the unexpected death of Sergio Marchionne in July 2018.

Ferrari chairman John Elkann, who has been running the Maranello-based company on an interim basis, praised Vigna's "deep understanding of the technologies driving much of the change in our industry, and his proven innovation, business-building and leadership skills." 

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Ferrari’s sleek sports cars and Formula One racing machines have made the prancing horse logo among the world’s most powerful brands. Vigna will be tasked with helping the Formula One team, which hasn't won a championship since 2008 or an individual race since September 2019, get back on the road to success. 

FILE – In this Wednesday, May 8, 2013 file photo a Ferrari logo is displayed on a wheel in the department Ferrari factory in Maranello, Italy. Luxury sports carmaker Ferrari has tapped Benedetto Vigna, an Italian executive at Europe’s largest semicon

Vigna is an unexpected choice to many analysts, who expected Ferrari to appoint an executive with more experience in the luxury goods space as the company prepares to unveil new apparel products and leather accessories. Ferrari will hold a runway preview of a new ready-to-wear collection this weekend in Maranello.

Like the rest of the car industry, Ferrari has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic, which temporarily shut production in spring 2020. Ferrari announced last month that it won’t hit 2022 financial targets due to the pandemic’s impact, despite a strong first-quarter rebound.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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