Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A., enjoying a record sales year in North America and elevated motorcycle sales worldwide, has undergone a change at the top.
Former CEO Federico Minoli, who oversaw the manufacturer’s change in ownership to Italian private equity firm Investindustrial Holdings, stepped down May 15. His successor, Gabriele Del Torchio, was named the following week.
In a video statement, Minoli said the leadership change was a result of the new owners’ desire to have a CEO “who is closer to them.”
Del Torchio is a former CEO of the Ferretti Group, a major boatbuilder that has shipyards in Italy, Spain and the United States.
Ducati also announced that Giampiero Paoli would become the chairman of the company.
Michael Lock, the CEO of Ducati North America, said the new owners “are looking for a platform for the next 5-10 years of where we can take the company. I think they felt that (Minoli) managed us to where we got to, but they needed a new pair of eyes to take it to the next level and address some internal things.”
Lock said he did not know of any other forthcoming company shake-ups and that any changes that would occur as a result of the switch in CEOs would be relatively minor.
“My anticipation is the change he affects will be pretty low profile to the outside world and maybe a lot of it will be relatively invisible,” he said. “I don’t think there are any suggestions at this stage that we’re going to make fundamentally different commercial decisions. The commercial decisions the last two to three years have been excellent, by and large.”
Lock said Del Torchio “has a very strong operations background. His focus is operations and logistics and the nuts and bolts of the business, as far as I can tell.”
The change in leadership will certainly be felt by Lock, who was hired by Minoli to lead the company’s North America operation.
“He gave me my start and my biggest opportunity,” Lock said of Minoli. “My career has been massively influenced by Federico.”
Lock also praised Minoli for his role in determining pricing and priority delivery for the new 1098, which was largely sold out before it hit U.S. showrooms.
“Without that, we wouldn’t be enjoying the year we are,” Lock said.
Ducati recently reported its first-quarter bike sales were up more than 20 percent and its first-quarter revenues increased by 25 percent.
“It’s a good time to leave the company because the company is back on track for growth and profitability,” Minoli said in his video statement.
Minoli noted some of that success comes as a result of “everybody in here really tightened their belt” from 2003-2005 to come up with the funding for the new product development that resulted in the 1098 and the Hypermotard 1100, which is scheduled to be in U.S. showrooms in July.
This period of product development followed a time where Ducati produced bikes that “did not strike the imagination,” Minoli said.
“It’s important for me to know that Ducati will bring into its future our mark,” he said in his concluding comments. “We think we left our mark on Ducati and for sure, Ducati has left a big mark on myself.” psb
Copyright 2007 Powersports Business