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John Elkann and FIAT Capitalism


Guido Corbetta was interviewed by David Bain for an article about John Elkann's capitalism vision. The article was published in the online magazine CampdenFB.

Guido Corbetta, a professor at Bocconi University in Milan and a family business expert, says there is one fixed rule in the Agnelli family and that is to have one leader, and only one leader. Elkann was chosen as that leader and he’s more than putting his mark on it.

Corbetta adds that one of the biggest achievements at Exor – and one that sometimes isn’t sufficiently recognised – is the management of the succession to Elkann from his grandfather. Gianni wasn’t just one of the Europe’s greatest industrialists; he was also one of its greatest playboys, connected to a host of glamorous women, including actresses Anita Ekberg and Rita Hayworth – a hard act to follow for any next generation.

“He was dominant,” says Corbetta. “Anyone succeeding him would have huge shoes to fill. But the fact that Elkann has done so and managed to beat his own path, distancing himself a lot from his grandfather’s particular style of running businesses and being successful, is a great achievement for Fiat, the Agnelli family, and even more so Elkann.”

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