Ferrari Chief Executive Officer Louis Camilleri has retired from his role with immediate effect as John Elkann becomes interim CEO.

Ferrari dropped a surprising news late on Thursday, with the announcement of Camilleri leaving his CEO position, of not only the Italian manufacturer but also Phillip Morris International, where he held the position of Chairman.

He had joined Ferrari in 2018 after the death of Sergio Marchionne and continued on his PMI work but in just over two years, the Egyptian has left the Italian manufacturer citing personal reasons, thereby also ending a long-standing relation with PMI.

No other reason was mentioned apart from Executive Chairman, Elkann, filling his shoes for the interim period, until they find a replacement. The news came at a time when Ferrari F1 chief Mattia Binotto was forced to fly back home due to mild illness from Bahrain.

“Ferrari has been a part of my life and serving as its Chief Executive has been a great privilege,” said Camilleri. “My admiration for the extraordinary men and women of Maranello and for the passion and dedication they apply to everything they do, knows no bounds.

“I’m proud of the Company’s numerous achievements since 2018 and know that Ferrari’s best years are still to come.” At the same time, Elkann, added: “I would like to express our most sincere thanks to Louis for his unstinting dedication as our Chief Executive Officer since 2018 and as member of our Board of Directors since 2015.

“His passion for Ferrari has been limitless and under his leadership the Company has further affirmed its position as one of the world’s greatest companies, capitalising on its truly unique heritage and unerring quest for excellence. We wish him and his family a long and happy retirement.”

Here’s the statement from Ferrari:

“Ferrari N.V. (NYSE/MTA: RACE) (”Ferrari” or “the Company”) announces that Mr. Louis Camilleri communicated today to the Company his decision, for personal reasons, to retire with immediate effect from his role as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and as member of the Board of Directors.

Ferrari’s Executive Chairman, John Elkann, acknowledging with regret Mr. Camilleri’s decision, announced he will act as interim Chief Executive Officer while the Ferrari Board of Directors will manage the ongoing process of identifying Mr. Camilleri’s successor.”

UPDATE: BBC notes that Camilleri was suffering from COVID-19 for the past few weeks and it was one of the main reasons to leave the job.

Here’s news on Mattia Binotto leaving

Here’s Mattia Binotto on F1 Beyond The Grid podcast