MILAN, Italy -- Fiat-owned Ferrari denied a report that the head of its Maserati division Martin Leach was going to move to Fiat Auto to take charge of its product portfolio management.
Automotive News reported Monday that Leach, the former head of Ford Europe, could take product management -- the last spot still empty after a restructuring at Fiat Auto -- and could possibly have a role in marketing.
"Ferrari-Maserati denies most categorically any plans for (Leach) to move to Fiat Auto in the imminent or distant future," it said in a statement.
Leach made his name at Ford where his passion for the nitty-gritty of cars above and below the hood earned him the moniker of "petrol head" and propelled him up the ladder until he took over its European division in 2002.
Fiat tried to hire Leach as Fiat Auto CEO last year but was blocked by a non-compete clause in his Ford contract. That has since been ruled void.
Many market watchers have said Fiat is not profiting from Leach's full potential by keeping him at Maserati.
This month, Fiat said there were no plans to change top management at Fiat Auto.
Automotive News said Leach could join Fiat Auto by spring at the latest and could arrive by year end.
The paper also said Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne had taken responsibility for car sales and dealerships outside Italy -- long seen as one of Fiat's weak points and a key focus of its turnaround plan.