MILAN (Bloomberg) -- Ferrari is considering appointing Chairman Sergio Marchionne as CEO after Amedeo Felisa retires from the post in the coming months, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
Marchionne, who is also CEO of Ferrari owner Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, may take full responsibility at the division before it's spun off in early 2016, adding the job to his list of positions, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private talks before an official announcement.
Felisa, an engineer who has been at Ferrari since 1990 and was named CEO in 2008, may keep an advisory role at the automaker, said the people. Discussions about Felisa's replacement are under way, and no final decision has been made, the people said. Ferrari declined to comment.
Fiat Chrysler is selling a 10 percent holding in Ferrari in an initial public offering targeted for October as part of a plan to raise cash. Fiat Chrysler will distribute its remaining 80 percent stake in Ferrari to shareholders at the beginning of next year, making the supercar maker independent. Marchionne has said the business is worth more than 10 billion euros ($11.3 billion), more than half of Fiat Chrysler's market value.
Marchionne plans to develop the supercar maker into a full-fledged luxury brand like Prada or Hermes International. He took the Ferrari chairman role last year in place of Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, who stepped down after more than two decades in the post following clashes on strategy. A few weeks after that move, Marchionne outlined the plan to separate Ferrari from London-based Fiat Chrysler and list the unit's stock in New York. He then reshuffled management of Ferrari's Formula 1 car-racing team and hired Sebastian Vettel to replace Fernando Alonso as the top driver.
Felisa, who ran product development at Fiat Chrysler's Alfa Romeo division before joining Ferrari, was one of Montezemolo's closest aides for more than 20 years. His departure would mark the end of an era.
Felisa "brings over 40 years of automotive technical experience and skill to his leadership role," Ferrari said in IPO documents published July 23. The executive, who turns 69 in October, has been planning his retirement for months, the people said. Ferrari said in the filing that "succession plans" are in place for key executives, but the replacements may not be people with equivalent qualifications.
Marchionne, 63, isn't the only car-industry executive to serve multiple roles, but the positions are generally affiliated. Carlos Ghosn is CEO of both French automaker Renault and Japanese alliance partner Nissan Motor Corp., while Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche also leads the German company's Mercedes-Benz luxury-vehicle division. In addition to running Europe's largest automaker, Volkswagen Group's Martin Winterkorn heads Porsche Automobil Holding SE, the German company's dominant shareholder.
Still, the number of executive or board positions Marchionne holds is unusual. He's also chairman of CNH Industrial NV, the truck and tractor maker spun off from Fiat in 2011; vice chairman of Exor, the holding company of the Agnelli family that controls Fiat Chrysler; chairman of SGS, the Swiss product-testing company that he led before the Agnellis picked him to run Fiat; and an independent director at cigarette maker Philip Morris International.
The number of seats he holds may put Marchionne "well over generally accepted global best-practice limits," David Lahire, an analyst at Glass, Lewis & Co., said in a blog post on the proxy advisory firm's website.