JANUARY 10, 2008

Management at Ferrari

One of the great mysteries in Formula 1 at the moment is who is going to be doing what at Ferrari in 2008. The company has given details of its racing programmes with Stefano Domenicali named as the director of the racing department and the various managers reporting to him have been nominated.

What has not been explained at all is what role will be reserved for Jean Todt. What we do know from the Ferrari website is that Todt remains "General Director" of the business. He is also listed as Ferrari CEO. Things are confused by the fact that one finds Amedeo Felisa referred to both as "Director-General" and as "Vice General Manager" depending on where one looks.

One is led to ask what is the difference between a director-general and a general-director. While much of this confusion can probably be explained away by problems in translation there are still grey areas. It used to be that Todt ran the racing and Felisa ran the car company but when it came to promoting others in the racing team Todt was moved to be CEO to make space. Felisa was then his deputy. But what happens now that Ferrari chairman/president Luca Montezemolo is returning to Maranello after spending the last four years based in Rome as the head of Confindustria, the employers organisation? That role officially comes to an end in May but Montezemolo says he will be back in Maranello before then. Before he moved to Confindustria he was "President and Managing Director" of Ferrari SpA, so what will his role be when he returns - and where does that leave Todt?

"It will be different once I'm physically back to Maranello," Montezemolo says. "I am convinced that the development of the company is still very strong and has to be expressed in some way, especially outside of Europe and North America, the regions where Ferrari was represented most until now."

He cites new shops, the theme park in Abu Dhabi and expanding the activities of the firm on the Internet as examples of where changes can be made - and he is clearly not speaking as a man who is simply going to sit in the office and twiddle his thumbs.

It seems that Montezemolo will be an executive chairman. If this is the role that he is planning to take and Todt's role as head of the sporting division is no longer his, one has to question what the Frenchman is going to be doing.