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Luca di Montezemolo has resigned from Ferrari.

The long-serving chairman of the Italian supercar brand announced this morning that he is to stand down ahead of the company’s upcoming flotation on the New York Stock Exchange. Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat - which owns 90 per cent of Ferrari - will take his place.

Montezemolo leaves after nearly 23 years of service to Ferrari, though his resignation comes in the wake of one of the Scuderia’s least successful Formula One campaigns. Indeed, just last weekend at Monza, the team suffered one of its worst home GPs with Alonso retiring with a mechanical failure and Raikkonen finishing ninth.

His resignation also comes just months after the departure of Ferrari F1 team principal Stefano Domenicali.

“This is the end of an era and so I have decided to leave my position as Chairman after almost 23 marvellous and unforgettable years,” Montezmolo said in a statement, “in addition to those spent at Enzo Ferrari’s side in the 1970s.”

“Ferrari is the most wonderful company in the world,” he added. “It has been a great privilege and honour to have been its leader. I devoted all of my enthusiasm and commitment to it over the years.

“Together with my family, it was, and continues to be, the most important thing in my life.”

Montezemolo became Ferrari chairman in 1991, but before that was manager of the Formula One team where he helped Niki Lauda clinch two world championships in 1975 and 1977.

With an unstoppable Michael Schumacher as lead driver too, the team enjoyed a period of record-breaking Formula dominance in the 2000s, taking six back-to-back constructors’ world championships, with Schumacher himself claiming five drivers’ championships.

Montezemolo is also widely credited as turning around the fortunes of the road car division.

Come back later today on TopGear.com as we look back on an influential 23 years at the helm of the world’s most famous supercar maker.

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