No airs for billionaire Ferrari son

Oct 20, 2015 640

I was seated next to Piero Ferrari, Enzo's second and only surviving son, on Feb. 28, 2001, in Geneva. The occasion was the induction of the inaugural class of the European Automotive Hall of Fame. Also at the table that night was a shy, 24-year-old John Elkann, the current chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' holding company (there for the induction of his grandfather Gianni Agnelli), and Annette Diesel, whose late husband's grandfather was Rudolf Diesel.

Piero owns about 10 percent of Ferrari S.p.A., enough to make him a billionaire as FCA -- which owns the rest -- prepares to sell a near 10 percent stake in Ferrari to Wall Street investors. He didn't act like a billionaire back then. I spent much of that long-ago night chatting with Piero and was surprised. He had kept a low profile, and I expected to struggle through dinner with an imperious automotive aristocrat.

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