CEO, FIAT CHRYSLER CHAIRMAN, FERRARI
For all its products’ beauty and brutality, Ferrari specializes in soft power. Take LaFerrari, the 1,000-horsepower, $1.3 million supercar introduced in 2014, whose mighty V12 engine and electric motors could accelerate time itself. Here’s the soft part: Ferrari handpicked the car’s 499 buyers. Such fiendish control helps ensure the marque’s appeal even to those who never drive, let alone own, the masterpieces from Maranello. Having assumed the top job at Ferrari last fall, Marchionne is putting the brand on the march like never before, helping inaugurate a deeply immersive retail store in Milan this spring. The factory-owned location, designed by architect Massimo Iosa Ghini, engages tifosi—the brand’s fans—via simulators as realistic as those used by Formula 1 drivers. “The Ferrari brand is rare because it combines universality with exclusivity,” says Stefano Lai, Ferrari’s senior vice president of communications. “Our goal is to move people.”
Beyond Marchionne’s responsibilities as the chairman of Ferrari, the 62-year-old’s primary role is to run Fiat Chrysler Automobiles-. Working in the auto industry for just 11 years—prior to 2004, when he took the top job at Fiat, he had been an executive at various industrial companies—he brings an outsider perspective that’s shaking up Detroit. Recently, Marchionne made news for reportedly proposing a merger to General Motors CEO Mary T. Barra, thus earning him the title “Detroit’s Chief Instigator” in a splashy New York Times Sunday Business profile.