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Fiat's Montezemolo plans to quit as chairman, sources say

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 00:00:00 -0700

Fiat S.p.A. Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo will quit as company chairman to go into politics, three sources close to the company said.

Montezemolo is set to stay on Fiat group's board, as well as remain chairman of the company's Ferrari sports car subsidiary.

Fiat vice chairman John Elkann will replace Montezemolo, the sources said.

Elkann, 34, is chairman of the Agnelli family holding company Exor S.p.A, which controls 30 percent of Fiat, Italy's largest manufacturer. He is the grandson of former Fiat Chairman Giovanni Agnelli and was designated by his grandfather, who died in 2003, to succeed him as the leader of the family's business interests.

Fiat has called a press conference for Tuesday afternoon. A Fiat spokesman declined to comment.

CEO Sergio Marchionne is scheduled to announce the automaker's new five-year business plan on Wednesday. Fiat acquired a 20 percent stake in Chrysler Group in last June, helping the third-largest U.S. carmaker emerge from bankruptcy.

Montezemolo, 62, became Fiat group chairman in 2004. He has occupied a number of positions in the huge Fiat empire since joining Ferrari in 1973 as manager of the Formula One race team.

He comes from an old aristocratic family of the Italian region of Piedmont--the Marquises of Montezemolo who for generations served Italy's House of Savoy Royal family. He has often been linked to a career in Italian politics, with some reports suggesting he could run for the office of Italy's prime minister.

By Luca Ciferri- Automotive News