Martin Leach didn’t get the job he wanted at Fiat Auto. But there is a scenario in which he could take over the crown jewel of the Fiat group, Ferrari, Automotive News Europe said.
The former Ford of Europe president, who was ousted in August 2003 while he was negotiating to head Fiat Auto, remains on very good terms with Fiat group CEO Giuseppe Morchio.
Morchio was very impressed by Leach, who was his first choice to replace Giancarlo Boschetti at Fiat Auto. But Morchio had to give up on Leach when Ford refused to release Leach from a non-compete agreement by Morchio’s deadline of September 1, 2003. Morchio instead hired Herbert Demel as Fiat Auto CEO. But he hasn’t stop thinking of Leach.
Now Fiat group might have an interesting offer for Leach: CEO of Ferrari. But several things must happen.
Current Ferrari CEO Luca di Montezemolo is expected to become president of Confindustria, the association of Italian industrial companies. If so, he could keep the chairman title at Ferrari and Maserati, but would need to give up the day-to-day chief executive role.
Maserati is part of Ferrari. It already has its own CEO, Antonello Perricone, who joined the company in September 2002.
As a former racing driver and lover of sports cars, Leach would be a natural fit as Ferrari CEO.
This scenario could occur relatively quickly. A US court in Michigan has already ruled that Ford cannot enforce Leach’s non-compete clause, so he is available. The Confindustria election process should be completed by mid-May.