The business on...John Elkann, Chairman, Fiat
Saturday 04 June 2011
He looks a little young?
Yes, he is rather fresh-faced – he turned 35 a couple of months ago.
A meteoric rise to the top?
The family connection helps. His mother's maiden name was Agnelli – Mr Elkann is the grandson of Giannia Agnelli, and the chosen heir of the Italian industrialist who built Fiat and the associated business empire.
So how is the prodigy doing?
Pretty well, actually. He's just masterminded the deal that has seen Fiat take majority control of Chrysler, the US auto manufacturer it helped rescue at the height of the global recession two years ago.
I thought that bloke with the jumpers ran Fiat?
You mean chief executive Sergio Marchionne, rarely seen in anything but a pullover? He's important, but he owes the chairman his job – it was Mr Elkann who pushed for his appointment seven years ago. He's been around much longer, having served on the board since the age of 22.
How did he end up as head of the Agnelli family?
His grandfather asked him to join the family business in 1997 following the death of his cousin Giovanni Alberton, the son of Gianni's younger brother Umberto. When the senior Agnelli brothers died, in 2003 and 2004, Mr Elkann became the vice chairman of Fiat – he stepped up to the chairmanship last year.
Any other strings to his bow?
Just a few. He runs Exor, the Agnelli family's investment company. It controls a string of assets across Europe, including Juventus football club. He's interested in politics too – he's a member of the Brookings Institute – and he's not afraid to get his hands dirty – while at college, he did a string of internships at car makers, never revealing his identity. He even worked at a headlight factory in Birmingham for a while.
Too busy for a personal life then?
He found time, in 2004, to marry the Italian countess Lavinia Borromeo. At the wedding, the couple tucked into a five metre-long chocolate cake that was a replica of the Fiat car factory in Turin, and also featured a unicorn, the family crest of the countess.
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Worst Airports of 2014: Poll names Islamabad airport in Pakistan worst in the world
iJobs Money & Business
£23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...
£27000 per annum + pension, 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ind...
£23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Admini...