Rumors that the head of one of Italy’s most illustrious auto brands would be taking over the country’s struggling flag air carrier were scotched Thursday when Ferrari SpA CEO Luca Cordero di Montezemolo assured journalists he is committed to making luxury sports cars.
“For me there is only Ferrari, to which I am very committed,” Montezemolo was quoted by Reuters as saying after the Italian media drummed up rumors that he would move to Alitalia after it completed talks to get a much-needed cash infusion from Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi's state-owned carrier.
Montezemolo, a former race car driver, has been at the F12berlinetta maker for 41 years. Ferrari is owned by Italian automaker Fiat SpA (BIT:F), which merged operations with Chrysler after wresting the rest of the U.S. automaker from a union trust last year.
Rome-based Compagnia Aerea Italiana S.p.A. (Alitalia) has been struggling for years with the threat of bankruptcy looming. Etihad Airways has been eyeing the Italian airline as a way to expand its European and trans-Atlantic operations.
On Friday, the two companies agreed to a deal that gives the Persian Gulf carrier a 49-percent stake in the Italian airline, which includes a commitment by Etihad to invest $1.6 billion in Alitalia.