Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri retires ‘with immediate effect’

Ferrari chief executive Louis Camilleri has retired “with immediate effect,” the company announced late Thursday.

Camillieri, who is stepping down as both CEO and a member of the board of directors, cited “personal reasons” for the decision.

Camillieri had been hospitalized with coronavirus, but has since recovered and returned home, according to people familiar with the situation.

Ferrari’s executive chairman John Elkann will take over as acting CEO while the board of directors begins a search for a successor, the company said in a statement.

Elkann praised Camilleri for his work at the luxury auto maker. His “passion for Ferrari has been limitless and under his leadership the company has further affirmed its position as one of the world’s greatest companies, capitalizing on its truly unique heritage and unerring quest for excellence,” Elkann said in a statement.

Camilleri was named CEO of Ferrari in 2018, replacing Sergio Marchionne, who had been acting as CEO of both Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) and Ferrari. He had also served on Ferrari’s board since 2015.

Camilleri had previously been CEO of Kraft Foods and Altria. He was also chairman of Philip Morris International, the tobacco company spun off from Altria in 2008. He also retired from that position effective immediately Thursday.

Under Camilleri’s leadership, Ferrari has increased its sales from 8,000 cars in 2016 to more than 10,000 last year, according to the company’s annual reports.

Ferrari (RACE) has been working to broaden its appeal with new models like upcoming Purosangue, a four-door model that will be similar to a crossover SUV. The company also recently introduced the Roma, a new grand touring car.

In the company’s statement, Camilleri praised the men and women of Ferrari “for the passion and dedication they apply to everything they do” and said “Ferrari’s best years are still to come.”

Ferrari had been part of Fiat Chrysler before being spun off as a separate publicly traded company in 2016. Exor, a company controlled by the Agnelli family, descendents of Fiat founder Giovanni Agnelli, owns a large share of of Ferrari. Elkann is a member of that family and is also chairman and CEO of Exor.