Biography of Giovanni [nieto] Agnelli (1921-2003)

Italian businessman, Honorary President of the Fiat Spa and Juventus and President of the financial IFI, born in Turin (Italy) on March 12, 1921 and died in his hometown on January 24, 2003. Two of the seven children of Edoardo Agnelli and Princess Virginia Bourbon del Monte, his paternal grandfather, Giovanni Agnelli, who was a Senator, founded the Fiat car factory in 1899.

During the second world war, he/she fought in the Italian army. After graduating in law from the University of Turin, he/she was appointed Vice-President of Fiat in 1945, the same year that his grandfather died. At the time the company was chaired by economist Vittorio Valetta, collaborator with his father. In 1961, he/she was President of the international exhibition of the work, and in 1966 he/she was appointed President of the Board of Directors of FIAT.

Considered one of the most astute financial of our time, Giovanni Agnelli, along with his brother Umberto, printed a new impetus to the firm, putting FIAT among the first industrial firms in the world and creating to your around a true Empire made up of 569 companies, with an annual turnover of four billion pesetas. Although the first years at the head of the company's expansion, he/she had to face a major crisis at the end of the 1970s. Several managers of FIAT had been killed by the Red Brigades and the problems with unions had come to paralyze the factory for more than one month. But Agnelli ended up imposing his show thesis, according to which the first benefit of the worker is your company. Proof of this was the so-called "March of the 40,000", in that pictures media and workers claimed their right to return to work.

At the end of the 1990s, 65,000 of its 270,000 employees became shareholders of the group. Likewise, Agnelli agreed with unions about wage increases directly related to the rate of the company's profit. After carrying out an industrial reconversion, which meant the loss of thousands of jobs, he/she managed to put an end to the crisis.Its foreign relations were also important. In 1976, he/she managed to sell 13 percent of FIAT to Gaddafi without losing the friendship with the United States. In addition, the first Western car factory which was built in the USSR was theirs. It also extended its industries to the Soviet market. He/She maintained good relations with different American Presidents, where he/she had located some of its factories, and even, in June 1990, Venezuelan President Carlos Andrés Pérez, appointed him to that it was part of an International Committee of advisors of his Government. Their companies produced about 10,000 different products from heart valves to gas turbines. Also started manufacturing products related to the defence and armaments, and interests in the food sector, where he/she participated in alliance with the French BSN, or the credit sought by Fiat Credit International and Fiat financial.

Agnelli dominated the market of cars in Italy, since it also controlled the Autobianchi, Lancia, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari brands. In the last quarter of 1990, Fiat, Iveco trucks division acquired the Spanish State group INI 60 per cent of the capital of Enasa (Pegasus), which had planned to make an investment of 57,000 million pesetas in the following years.

In November 1992 he/she made a reshuffle at the top of Fiat with a view to a future exit from the Presidency of the automobile group. Despite the fact that he/she opted for his succession in favour of his nephew Giovanni Alberto in the summer of 1995, in December of that year announced his departure from the Presidency for March 1996, at the age of 75. The relay was ahead of the 28th of February and CEO occupied his post Cesare Romiti, until then.However, Agnelli opted for Giovanni Alberto to take over the helm of the 'empire' in a period of 2 to 4 years, but the latter was detected him in March 1997 a strange abdominal cancer, because of which died at the end of that same year, at the age of 33. Since then, he/she kept the Presidency as a member of the Pact of Union that governs Fiat and IFI financial. A football fan, Agnelli was the patron and Honorary Chairman of the Juventus of Turin. Owner of the daily La Stampa, in Turin, and Corriere della Sera of Milan, through the publishing group Gemina-Rizzoli, since June 1, 1991 he/she was appointed Senator for life, by appointment of the President of the Republic Francesco Cossiga.

Agnelli, who control 40 percent of the FIAT group, are within the fifty families rich and powerful in the world. The British journalist Alan Friedman, correspondent of the Financial Times, published in 1988 the black history of the Agnelli, in a book entitled all in family. In it he/she reveals the shady dealings of the family, whose founder, Senator Giovanni Agnelli, did not hesitate to traffic concurrently with Mussolini and anti-fascists, for which manufactured all types of military equipment. To counter this type of propaganda, Giovanni Agnelli decided to dictate her autobiography to the American journalist Roger Cohen, of the Wall Street Journal, elected official biographer of the Tycoon.

In the cultural field, Giovanni Agnelli stood out in 1987 conducting the restoration of Palazzo Grassi, a huge artistic centre opened in the city of Venice, also hosted in Turin the "Lingotto" exhibition hall. He/She also chaired the Senator Giovanni Agnelli Foundation, instituted to reward those who stand out in the study of ethics and to honour the memory of its founder. Giovanni Agnelli was a member of the International Advisory Committee of Chase Manhattan Bank and the Conference industry international of San Francisco. It belonged to the Executive Committee of the Trilateral Commission (Paris) and the Group of Presidents of large European companies (Brussels). He/She was also a member of the Board of Directors of Mediobanca, Credito Italiano and SKF. Contributor regularly in newspapers and magazines, wrote on economic and industrial issues. Holder the cross of military merit, was married in 1953 to the Princess Marella Caracciolo, with whom he/she had two sons: Edoardo and Margherita. On his death, his brother Umberto took the helm of the family business at a particularly critical time for the company.