Few brands in the world are as prestigious as Ferrari. And few people are more associated with the Ferrari brand than Luca Cordero di Montezemolo.
Di Montezemolo has been at the wheel of Ferrari since 1991. Yet he has been a presence at the iconic sportscar company since the 1970s, when he worked alongside the company's legendary founder Enzo Ferrari.
With his flowing hair, stylish suits and Italian flair, "Luca" (as everyone called him) was a god in the racing and sports-car world. Billionaires around the world vied for his attention and favor, eager to get their hands on the latest models and special editions.
He has also presided over the company's strong financial success. Ferrari reported record first-half earnings Thursday, with profits up 5 percent to €185 million and sales up 14 percent to €1.35 billion.
It's not surprising, then, that collectors, dealers, buyers and the rest of the vast global army of Ferrari fans are in a state of collective rage over Montezemolo's resignation Wednesday. Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula 1 tycoon, compared Montezemolo's departure to the death of Enzo Ferrari.
"His leaving is for me the same as Mr. Enzo dying," Ecclestone told Reuters. "He has become Ferrari. You see him, you see Ferrari. You don't see anything else."