Few lines are as fluid as those between the Italian and German automobile industries. Executives seem to move back and forth between the two faster than the exotic supercars for which they’re responsible, and all the more so when it comes to designers.
Frank Stephenson moved to Ferrari and on to the Fiat group after 11 years at BMW. Italian designer Walter de Silva cut his proverbial teeth at Fiat and Alfa Romeo before moving to Audi, where he also oversaw Lamborghini’s design department – and he has since been promoted to head of design for the entire Volkswagen group. German-born, Italian-schooled Wolfgang Egger has similarly bounced back and forth between Alfa Romeo, VW and Lancia before succeeding de Silva as head of Audi and Lamborghini design. The list goes on and on, and if the latest reports from Italy are to be believed, you can now add to them one Flavio Manzoni.
As director of creative design in Wolfsburg, Manzoni was known as de Silva’s right-hand man. But now he’s said to be moving back to Italy to head up Ferrari’s design department. If these reports are accurate, Manzoni will be replacing current Ferrari design director Donato Coco (who in turn replaced the aforementioned Stephenson), report directly to managing director Amedeo Felisa and work to establish a Ferrari style center to bring more of the design work, currently handled by Pininfarina, in-house.