Ferrari turns to world of tech for its new CEO

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Ferrari has turned to a tech executive to navigate the transition towards electrification in the automotive industry, appointing Benedetto Vigna as its new boss.

Vigna, a 52-year-old Italian national, currently leads the biggest division of chip maker STMicrolectronics’.

His appointment fills a six-month vacancy at the helm of the luxury carmaker, where former Chief Executive Louis Camilleri retired in December citing personal reasons, after being in the role for nearly two and a half years.

Chairman John Elkann, the scion of Agnelli family which controls Ferrari through its investing firm Exor, said the company was “delighted” to welcome Vigna as its new CEO.

“His deep understanding of the technologies driving much of the change in our industry, and his proven innovation, business-building and leadership skills, will further strengthen Ferrari and its unique story of passion and performance, in the exciting era ahead,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

Ferrari, which already offers hybrid models, has promised its first full-electric car for 2025.

Elkann has led the company on an interim basis since Camilleri stepped down. In April he said Ferrari new CEO should have “all the right qualities, including importantly the technological capabilities”, playing down initial speculation that the new boss could have a background in luxury or retail.

Vigna will start at Ferrari on Sept. 1, the company said, adding he was currently president of the Analog, Micro-electromechanical Systems and Sensors group, STM’s largest and most profitable operating business in 2020.

Vigna, who is also a member of the STMicroelectronics Executive Committee, will leave the company on Aug. 31, the Franco-Italian chipmaker said in a separate statement.

Following are some highlights of Vigna’s career:

* Vigna, 52, leads ST’s division in charge of sensors and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), the company’s biggest and most profitable business in 2020.

* ST’s Analog, MEMS and Sensors division, where Vigna was appointed president in January 2016, had revenues of $3.89 billion in 2020 with an operating margin of 20.8%.

* Vigna, who holds a degree in subnuclear physics from the University of Pisa, joined ST in 1995 and oversaw the company’s first steps in MEMS, helping build its strong market position in motion-activated user interfaces.

* Vigna and his team were among pioneers of the “three axis gyroscope” that debuted in the Apple iPhone 4, which allows the screen to adapt to portrait or landscape format as users turned the handset. This sensor technology is now used in all mobile phones as well as for ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems) navigation and active safety in cars.

* A recognised industry leader and innovator, Vigna has more than 200 patents on micro-machining and has authored numerous publications. In 2013 he won both the MEMS Industry Group’s Executive of the Year Award and the European SEMI Award.

* He joined the MEMS & Sensor Industry Group board in June 2019. Since February 2020, Vigna has been a member of Electronics Cluster Advisory Board (CAB) for the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) of Singapore.

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