Agnelli hands over the reigns at Fiat
With customary panache but also a dash of high emotion, Gianni Agnelli yesterday handed over the chairmanship of Fiat to his loyal number two, Cesare Romiti, as his 30-year reign at the head of Italy's most successful private business empire drew to a carefully orchestrated close.
Mr Agnelli formalised his retirement at a board meeting at Fiat's headquarters in Turin just two weeks ahead of his self-imposed deadline, his 75th birthday which falls on 12 March.
He nevertheless remains honorary president of the family-dominated company founded by his grandfather, and retains control of two Agnelli family holding companies - activities which will ensure his continuing influence on Fiat for several months if not years to come.
Mr Romiti, himself 72, is entrusted with the chairmanship for three years only. Mr Agnelli's 31-year-old nephew, Giovanni Alberto, currently head of the scooter company Piaggio, is believed to be preparing to take over thereafter - which would return Fiat into family hands in time for its centenary in 1899.
"I am perfectly at ease about placing Fiat in safe hands," Mr Agnelli said in a farewell statement which emphasised the healthy state of the business. Having faced financial disaster in 1993, Fiat has bounced back to profit with the prize-winning Punto, Bravo and Brava models. In April it plans to launch a "world car", called the Palio, starting in Brazil.
Mr Agnelli's departure has sparked a reshuffle of top management, giving it a more dynamic look. The successful car division manager, Paolo Cantarella, becomes Mr Romiti's number two.
Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
Strewth mate. Aussies wave goodbye to Britain as it becomes too pricey to stay
World news in pictures
X marks the spot: The find that could rewrite Australian history
Oklahoma tornado: Frantic search for victims continues, as tales of survival emerge
- 1 'He was lucky he didn't die' - George Michael fell out of speeding car onto M1 motorway, according to eye witness
- 2 Tottenham to smash pay scale with £150,000-a-week contract in attempt to tie Gareth Bale to club
- 3 Austerity has hardened the nation's heart
- 4 Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
- 5 Why Arsène Wenger must spend to put icing on the cake and buy likes of Stevan Jovetic for Arsenal
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
iJobs Money & Business
£180 - £230 per day: Orgtel: Operations Analyst - Leading Bank in the City of ...
£500 per day: Orgtel: A top tier banking client urgently requires Finance Busi...
£425 - £550 per day: Orgtel: Senior Finance Project Manager - £550 - Bristol -...
£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: KYC Analyst - London - Banking - £150-250/day C...