“We will remain independent, with a company listing on the Milan Stock Exchange, but Mahindra ownership gives us stability and the opportunity to perform inside a large global organisation,” says CEO Silvio Pietro Angori.
Tech Mahindra may well be the biggest company you have never heard of. Turnover is £2.5 billion a year and its global workforce numbers 105,000, with more than 2500 in automotive work, much of it processing design and financial data.
Automotive turnover is £240m a year – Pininfarina’s is £70m – and once the deal is completed, Pininfarina will be part of one of the world’s top three technology consultants, in competition with Tata Services and Infosys.
Under Tech Mahindra, Pininfarina is planning to expand operations around the globe and to help the group double automotive turnover “in the next four to six years”, says Angori.
Angori has been CEO since June 2007, arriving just before the tragic death of family scion Andrea Pininfarina in a motorcycle accident. Angori runs the company alongside Andrea’s brother, Paolo Pininfarina, the chairman. The upheaval of that event, combined with the global financial crisis, threw Pininfarina into a perfect storm and its debt ballooned to more than 10 times the company’s value.
“I don’t have to explain all the troubles that the whole industry experienced – they are well documented – but we are now building a new future for Pininfarina,” says Angori.
All the coachbuilders in Turin and Milan were rocked by the financial crisis, which coincided with multiple major strategic shifts in the car industry that have totally changed the look and shape of the business.
Firstly, car makers have mastered modern CAD design systems to be capable of designing anything. They’ve also nurtured the talent to work those design computers, removing the need to pay for outside design inspiration. Pininfarina, for example, designed every Ferrari bar one from the 1950s until the 2013 LaFerrari. Ferrari design has now moved in-house.