As always, the annual Monterey Car Week brings together the world’s finest and rarest automobiles. Some of them are not only to see, but also to buy. This time the Sotheby’s auction included one object with a special historic background: The last ever produced Ferrari Enzo, which found for 6,050,000 US-Dollar a new owner.[1]

A Ferrari sports car as gift or donation normally makes management and compliance officers nervous, especially if it would be the last of the produced Enzos with a value of 1 Million US-Dollar and more. Donating it to a religious organization would deviate the policies of most of the global companies. But nevertheless, the Ferrari Corporation donated in 2004 the 400th and last produced Enzo to the Vatican. Of course the company had been very well aware that it was not an adequate automobile for the Pope to use. For this it became no surprise that John Paull II felt honored, but respectfully declined the acceptance. Instead he requested to give it to an auction and donate the money for the victims of the same year’s Tsunami. He should not get these proceeds, as months later he died due to his long-term illness. Ferrari gave the achieved money to his successor, Pope Benedict XVI.

This example presents a best-practice how to politely decline a non-appropriate gift, without displeasing the giver. To avoid the situation, a company can proactively inform clients, suppliers and other external stakeholders that employees are not able to receive presents. Of course, this can be combined with charity; as such information can include the company’s preferred charity organization. So now the external party has the possibility to donate instead of sending a gift. Nevertheless the knowledge of a donation can trigger the same psychology effects as directly receiving the contribution.[2]


[1] Blackwell, Rusty (2015): “Monterey Auctions Day 1: Top 10 Includes Pope John Paul II’s Enzo”

[2] Henz, Patrick (2017): “Business Philosophy according to Enzo Ferrari – from motorsports to business”