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  Luca di Montezemolo

In Bologna, on the 31st of August 1947, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo was born, he was the youngest in a famous family of doctors, officers and even a Cardinal. In 1971, he finished his law studies with summa cum laude. This he enhanced at the Columbia University, while working for a partnership in New York.

The rather successful participation, within his limits, in motor car-races, was his hobby while he was studying and during his first employment in Rome. In 1973 he became the race organizer at Ferrari, just at the time when their racing department was not doing too well. Enzo Ferrari himself had health problems, now of all times, when the company was active in numerous areas.

Their success with sports-cars was legendary. Indeed, in the 1960s, the enormous fame that Ferrari had in the Formula-1, had somewhat paled against the British competition. There was whispering about too many unexploited fields. Montezemolo, with the support of Fiat boss Agnelli (a 40% shareholder), was given the job of straightening it all out.

This was the time when, with Ferrari, The racing driver Niki Lauda's rise to fame began. He and the still young Montezemolo, obviously got on well. It is said, that he was a very good speaker and that he had good connections to companies both in Rome and in New York. He was considered to be a specialist in international law.

The Formula-1 Circus was important for Ferrari because their races were becoming an integral part of television. This promised advertising, very different from the seldom shown sports-car races. As a rule, the courses were that short, that the camera coverage could be comprehensive.

Their sporting ambitions sky-rocketed in the second half of the decade, with three driver's- and four contructor's titles in Formula-1. The field of street-legal cars, was the second important sector, they now brought out, apart from the previous V12 engines, also V8-units. After half-heartedly trying out the 246, a V6, without the Ferrari emblem, they now had an established series. They couldn't have chosen a better time, than that of the first oil-price crisis.

Although Montezemolo did enjoy his trust, Enzo Ferrari of course, was still the boss, and until his death in 1988, he still pulled all the strings in the company. His authority was unbroken. They had succeeded in producing over 2.000 cars in 1979, 3.000 in 1985 and 4.000 in 1988, despite the wave of strikes in 1981/82. After Enzo Ferrari's death, the company went through a bad period.

From 1977 onwards, Montezemolo was active in other areas at Fiat and from 1982, he was also a director of the Cinzano Vermouth company, which also belonged to the Agnelli concern. In addition, he also had various functions in off-shore sailing sport (Americas Cup) and in the Football World-Cup in Italy in 1990.

In the meantime at Ferrari, things had got even worse. They hadn't won a title since 1983. Half their production was lost. Montezemolo himself even described the quality of Ferrari as being poor. Thus in 1991, Agnelli, who in the meantime, had a 90% ownership, made him the boss and at the same time, the company's trouble-shooter. It would take another eight or nine years before they once again, won a title.

The models 355, 360, 430, 550 Maranello and the Enzo, that was the success-list of his street-legal cars. In 1993, Maserati was taken over by Fiat, who in 1977, sold 50% of the shares to Ferrari (also owned by Fiat). In 1999, Ferrari completely took over the, in the meantime, once again respected brand. His greatest coup, was perhaps taking on Jean Todt as team director, Ross Brawn as technical director and the driver Michael Schumacher, who had taken two world titles for Benetton in the 1996 season. From 1996 until 2006/2007, Ferrari achieved a total of 87 race-wins from all together 221 Grand-Prix successes.

From 2000 until the end of 2004, they won the world championship five times and Ferrari won the contructor's title six times. Montezemolo followed the late Umberto Agnelli into the board of directors at Fiat. By necessity, he then gave up his office as chief of Ferrari. In contrast to the successful business-division, there were too few successes in the sporting field.

Thus, the boss of Fiat, Sergio Marchionne would himself now lead Ferrari. It is assumed that the reason for this action, was apparently, not only the poor results in Monza, but also the FCA-Group's (Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles) forthcoming entrance onto the stock-exchange. Montezemolo was compensated with 30 million, half of which was to honour his salary-contract and the ban, which forbid him to work for a different racing-team until 2017.

Perhaps Montezemolo would be the last of the critics of Fiat Boss, Marchionne and his, in recent years, destructive course, to be pushed out. At least with his usual involvement in a number of companies and institutes, he's not likely to become bored. 09/14