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Ferrari looks to take fight to Tesla by hiring CEO with reputation as electronics innovator

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Ferrari NV (BIT:RACE)(NYSE:RACE) has appointed tech specialist Benedetto Vigna as its new chief executive.

The 52-year old Italian national will join the sports car maker at the start of September from STMicroelectronics NV (NYSE:STM), the Franco-Italian electronics and semiconductors group where he has worked since 1995.

He is currently on STM’s executive committee and himself established and grew the Analog, Micro-electromechanical Systems and Sensors unit to becoming the group’s biggest and most profitable operating segment.

Vigna’s priority will be to strengthen Ferrari’s leading position in the luxury auto sector and “accelerate Ferrari’s ability to pioneer the application of next generation technologies”, the carmaker said, drawing on his experience piloting moves for STM into new business areas, including industrial and automotive markets, including a strong relationship with Apple.

Ferrari chairman John Elkann highlighted Vigna’s “deep understanding of the technologies driving much of the change in our industry, and his proven innovation, business-building and leadership skills”.

Analysts at UBS said: “We understand his reputation is particularly strong with regards to STM’s relationship with Apple, one of the most important and demanding clients.

They added: “We view this appointment as favourable in light of the ongoing challenges in the automotive industry. As the path to electrification draws closer, the technological content within cars will likely increase and become an important differentiator, especially in a context where the traditional engine may be replaced by an electric powertrain.

“We believe Mr Vigna’s background and reputation as innovator (>200 patents in his career) can give investors confidence that in the years to come Ferrari will continue to marry a strong brand with the latest technological innovation, and maintain its leadership in the autos and luxury space.”

The UBS analysts said the appointment removes some of the uncertainty that has kept the stock under pressure over the past few months, and could lead to some rerating.

Shares in the Prancing Horse reversed 1% in morning trading in Milan to €178.

Story by ProactiveInvestors


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