The WSJ describes Ferrari as the “kind of company that drives itself.” Well, as an organizational psychologist who has worked with corporate CEOs for over 15 years now, I’ll contend that this is never the case – companies are set up well by their talented CEOs (in this case, Sergio Marchionne) and, sometimes, with the assistance of their boards. And, that is what makes them “drive themselves.”
Leave it to the WSJ to always be slightly off-base. But, whatever – the reason given by the Journal for saying that the company drives itself is that it is a smaller automobile company and, thus, easier to manage than more diversified global car makers. Well, the quickest way to dispute that incorrect assumption is to compare Ferrari with Tesla – also a small automobile company. QED. Ferrari is an impressively-managed company, not because it is small, but because it had someone at the helm for several years as CEO who knew automobile company management like the back of his hand. And, now that Ferrari Chairman Louis Camilleri has taken the helm, he promises to carry on Marchionne’s work and address the two major concerns for the company. One is how to grow while maintaining the exclusivity valued by current customers. In response to this challenge, the company plans to sell more products designed for touring and, in 2022, to launch something they are calling a “purosangue” (thoroughbred), which will amount to Ferrari’s version of an SUV. An additional challenge is the meeting of tightening emission rules which will apply to the carmaker should it produce more than 10,000 cars a year – currently the company is exempted because of their small production size (approximately 9,000). Overall, the company appears to be in for very smooth driving.