Ducati Motor Holding SpA promoted General Manager Claudio Domenicali to the top spot of the Italian sports-motorcycle brand owned by Volkswagen AG after his predecessor was appointed to run airline Alitalia SpA.
Domenicali will become chief executive officer after working at the manufacturer since 1991, when he joined as a project leader, Bologna-based Ducati said in a statement today. He succeeds Gabriele Del Torchio, who was named today as CEO of Rome-based Alitalia, with immediate effect, Andrea Seltmann, a spokeswoman for the motorcycle maker, said by phone.
Volkswagen’s Audi brand, the second-biggest maker of luxury cars, bought Ducati in a 860 million-euro ($ 1.12 billion) deal in July to enhance the sporty appeal of the Ingolstadt, Germany-based division. Audi has a target of taking the top spot in luxury-auto sales from Bayerische Motoren Werke AG by the end of the decade.
Ducati, the maker of the Monster, Diavel and Superbike models, employed 1,054 people and sold 44,102 motorcycles last year, according to Audi’s website.
Del Torchio, who joined Ducati in 2007 after it was acquired by Milan-based private-equity firm Investindustrial Advisors SpA, remained CEO after the Audi takeover. He also joined the board of Audi’s Lamborghini sports-car brand. Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, Chief Financial Officer Axel Strotbek and executive Horst Glaser are also members of Ducati’s board.
Audi’s other Italian assets include the design and technology firm Italdesign, founded by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who sketched the first Volkswagen Golf hatchback.