apple ferrari eddie cue.automotiveIT

Eddie Cue (Photo: Ferrari)

Senior Apple executive Eddie Cue has joined the Ferrari board of directors, underscoring the importance the Italian race car maker attaches to its brand-related online activities.

Ferrari, whose unit sales rose 6 pc to 5,267 cars in the first nine months of the year, said brand-related activities, which are made up mostly of licensing retail and e-commerce, also continue to grow strongly.

In the first nine months, revenues from Ferrari's online store shot up 32 pc, while visits to the Web site jumped 20 pc. At the same time, the brand's Facebook site has racked up more than 10 million fans, while more than 20 million people have tuned into Ferrari's You Tube channel.

"I am delighted that Eddy Cue, one of the main driving forces behind Apple’s range of revolutionary products, has now joined our board," Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo said in a press release. "His huge experience in the dynamic, innovative world of the Internet will be of great assistance to us.”

Cue is Apple's senior vice president internet software and services. He oversees the computer maker's iTunes and App stores, as well as its Siri voice recognition, maps, iAd and iCloud services.

Cue, who has been with Apple for 23 years, said he had been a fan of Ferrari since he was 8 years old and has owned a Ferrari for the past five years.  "I continue to be awed by the world-class design and engineering that only Ferrari can do," he said.

Apple hasn't so far  been a major player in the auto industry, but some experts say the company would be well positioned to play a more active role in shaping tomorrow's automotive infotainment systems or maybe even the car itself.

Ferrari is controlled by Italian automotive group Fiat.