Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri steps down after battle with COVID-19

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Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri has abruptly resigned after a bad case of the coronavirus reportedly landed him in the hospital.

The Italian luxury automaker announced Thursday that Camilleri had decided to retire effective immediately for “personal reasons” after about two and a half years at the helm.

Camilleri also stepped down as the chairman of tobacco giant Philip Morris International, where he worked for four decades, the company said.

Neither company provided further details about the reasons for Camilleri’s departure, but a Ferrari source told Reuters that he had been hospitalized for COVID-19 in recent weeks and is now recovering at home.

The illness, however, was not what caused him to decide to retire from the Maranello, Italy-based company, according to the news agency.

“Ferrari has been a part of my life and serving as its chief executive has been a great privilege,” Camilleri said in a statement. “My admiration for the extraordinary men and women of Maranello and for the passion and dedication they apply to everything they do, knows no bounds.”

Camilleri, 65, took over as Ferrari’s chief executive in July 2018 after former CEO Sergio Marchionne died of complications from surgery. He had been on Ferrari’s board since 2015 and was friends with Marchionne, who sat on the board of Philip Morris, where Camilleri served as chairman and CEO from 2008 to 2013, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Ferrari said executive chairman John Elkann will serve as interim CEO while the company’s board searches for Camilleri’s permanent replacement.

At Philip Morris, director Lucio Noto will take Camilleri’s place as interim chairman until CEO André Calantzopoulos takes over as executive chairman in May under a “long-planned leadership succession,” the company said.

Ferrari’s US-listed shares were down about 0.4 percent in premarket trading at $213.14 as of 8:29 a.m., while Philip Morris shares were recently off about 0.2 percent at $84.79.

With Post wires

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