Ducati CEO Minoli Steps Down

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Ducati Motors CEO Federico Minoli resigned today, just a day after the Italian motorcycle maker announced it will pull out of the New York Stock Exchange because of low trading volume.

Minoli made his resignation, effective May 21, by video statement in Italian and English, which later appeared on YouTube.

Minoli's comments were bittersweet. He said his resignation was "simply because the new shareholders would like to get, in my place, someone closer to them." But he took credit for bringing the company from its former struggles to a going concern.

"We are going to have a great year this year because of the new products, the Hypermotard and the 1098," he said. "This success we are enjoying today comes from 1996, when we entered a company that had stopped producing. But we found two great jewels, the 916 and the Monster that were left to us..."

Those two inspired the current line, Minoli said.
"From 1996 to 2001, we redid the entire company. The Ducati store concept came out, the idea of a Ducati community, the Ducati clubs, the World Ducati Weekend, and all what came to revitalizing the brand and really launch it as a global brand," he said.

He acknowledged products that "did not really strike the imagination" between 2001 and 2003, but said an overhaul of research and development has brought the company where it is today.

"Every single penny from 2003 to 2005 went into research and development," he said. "And Voila! They were very good, they have produced some astonishing product that have this company back into success."

The company has seen ups and downs recently. Roberto Maestroni resigned his post as a director May 2, for personal reasons. The board appointed Gabriele Del Torchio to fill that vacancy. Maestroni did not own shares in the company.

But it also announced Monday that first quarter sales were up to 8,903, vs. 7,337 in the same period in 2006.

The company cited the costs of listing and low trading volume for its decision Monday to leave the NYSE. Shares were set to close at $20.86 Tuesday, up 10 cents, with a 52-week price range of $6.90 to $22 per share.