Luca Cordero di Montezemolo will step down as chairman of Ferrari as of October 13 and will be replaced by Sergio Marchionne, who also serves as the chief executive of parent group Fiat.

The departure of Montezemolo, announced by Fiat on Wednesday, was widely expected after escalating clashes between the two executives over strategy and the role of the luxury sports car business within the Fiat group.

Montezemolo, Ferrari's chairman since 1991, has been wanting to keep Ferrari autonomous, while Marchionne has been pushing to better integrate the business within Fiat to boost the group's move into the premium end of the car market as it seeks to rival the likes of Volkswagen and BMW.

Marchionne said that he and Montezemolo had discussed the future of Ferrari at length and that "our mutual desire to see Ferrari achieve its true potential on the (Formula One racing) track has led to misunderstandings, which became clearly visible over the last weekend".

The Fiat CEO said on Sunday that the recent disappointing performance of Ferrari's Formula One racing team was "unacceptable" and that it was "absolutely non-negotiable" that Ferrari should win Formula One races

Under Montezemolo's more than two decade-long tenure, Ferrari raced to the top of the Formula One grid, increased revenues tenfold and tripled sales volumes as the Italian family business grew into one of the world's most powerful brands.

Source: Reuters