Ferrari: Values and Culture of a Prestigious Automaker

Former Chief Product Officer and SVP Production Processes at Ferrari

Why is this interview interesting?

  • Core values that drive the culture at Ferrari
  • Organizational design of Ferrari versus other OEMs
  • What drives the superior capital efficiency of Ferrari versus competitors
  • Fixed and variable cost breakdown for Ferrari versus other OEMs
  • Biggest risk for Ferrari in the next 5 years
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Executive Bio

Ervino Riccobon

Former Chief Product Officer and SVP Production Processes at Ferrari

Ervino has 24 years experience in the auto industry. He spent 18 years at Mckinsey as a consultant in the advanced industry practice with the majority of his time in the automotive segment. After working with Ferrari throughout his time at McKinsey, the luxury automaker created a new role that concentrated on creating cost competitiveness with responsibilities of purchasing and manufacturing efficiency. Ervino saw the company transition from a business within a large mass automaker to a standalone publicly listed luxury sport automaker. He was one of a small team of Executive Officers at Ferrari during a crucial period of the company's history. Read more

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Interview Transcript

What struck you most when you first started at Ferrari?

First of all, I would say it was the fact that all the people were in the same location. When you are a consultant, you study the theory of how you can really build a network. Also, I was probably spending half of my time on the phone with remote people to optimize my time when I was consulting, with teams, with clients, et cetera. So, I lost the importance and the value of personal contact with people. The fact that all the people, literally all the company is in the same location, reachable by a maximum of 5 minutes on foot, is of enormous value. People meet each other very frequently, they have lunch together, those who live far away and only go back home at the weekends also have dinner together in the same canteen, that creates an enormous sense of community and shared values. Shared values are really quite present in every single meeting. The fact that people meet each other so frequently means the feeling of shared values is really strong. As a consultant, I have also never met a company with such strong and aligned values, so the sense of passing Ferrari to the next generation to make it stronger, the atmosphere surrounding the company that you need to preserve and nurture, and that aligns people in a way that I have never seen in any other company. So that's the magic. I was struck by that. I came from a company where the magic was already there, but Ferrari is possibly even more intense from that point of view.

How would you describe the culture?

I think the culture is the culture of the winner. People are there to win. So there is no compromise. The strength of the winner is the strength of delivering no compromises and being able to shape the industry. Altogether forgetting what competitors are doing, because you know that you shape the pace, the behavior and the trends of the customer and the market, and that all the others will need to follow you. It's not arrogance, it's the sense of really shaping the industry.

So you never looked at competitors’ strategy or performance?

No, ‘you never look at competitors’ is the wrong statement. It's that you don't care whether competitors are doing different things. If you have a clear idea in mind, you don't really care whether the others are following you or not, whether the others have a different point of view or not. Of course, you do care about what they do and the ideas that they have, but you are not afraid to have a contrarian view because you have the consciousness, you have the self-confidence and you can shape the market around that. You know the others will follow inevitably, because you are so much bigger and you are so much stronger than all the others. You can afford to be the leader. That means that you need to deliver above and beyond your competitors every single time. That's the challenge and that creates a sense of ownership. You collectively know that you can only serve if you stay ahead of all the others. There’s a clear sense of that.

How does management encourage that pressure on delivery but also the pressure to innovate and be at the front of design and shaping the market?

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Ferrari: Values and Culture of a Prestigious Automaker(November 18, 2019)

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