Luca di Montezemolo was Chairman of both Ferrari and FIAT and is one of Europe’s best known business leaders.
Di Montezemolo’s career began at the wheel of a Giannini Fiat 500 which he raced together with his friend Cristiano Rattazzi. Later, di Montezemolo drove for the Lancia rally team known as HF Squadra Corse. He joined the auto manufacturing conglomerate FIAT and in 1973 was moved to Ferrari, where he became Enzo Ferrari’s assistant and, in 1974, manager of the Scuderia. During his involvement with the team, Ferrari won the Formula One World Championship with Niki Lauda in 1975 and 1977. In 1976 di Montezemolo was promoted to become head of all FIAT racing activitie.
Throughout the 1980s, di Montezemolo occupied a number of positions in the FIAT empire, including managing director of the drinks company Cinzano and director of the publishing company Itedi. In 1982, he managed the America’s Cup challenge of Team Azzurra, the first Italian yacht club to enter the event. In 1985, he became Director of the Organising Committee for 1990 World Cup Italia.
In 1991, FIAT Chairman Gianni Agnelli appointed di Montezemolo President of Ferrari, which had been struggling since Enzo Ferrari’s death. Di Montezemolo made it his goal to win the Formula One World Constructors’ Championship once again. Di Montezemolo quickly made changes at the Italian team, signing up Niki Lauda as consultant and promoting Claudio Lombardi to team manager. During the 1990s he resurrected the Ferrari road car business from heavy debts into solid profit. He also took on the Presidency of Maserati when Ferrari acquired it in 1997, until 2005. Under Cordero di Montezemolo and executive director Jean Todt, the Ferrari Formula One team won the World Drivers Championship in 2000, the first time since 1979. The previous year, 1999, they had won the constructors’ championship for the first time since 1983.
In 2004, di Montezemolo became President of Italian business lobby Confindustria. and days later he was elected Chairman of Fiat, Ferrari’s parent company. In 2008, di Montezemolo founded the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) which he presided over from 2008–10. The committee used to meet on a regular basis to discuss improvements to Formula One.
In 2010, Luca di Montezemolo retired as Chairman of Fiat and in 2014 he resigned as President of Ferrari. Later in 2014 di Montezemolo was appointed Chairman of the Italian national airline Alitalia and since 2004, he has also been President of LUISS, the Free International University for Social Studies Guido Carli in Rome.
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