Italian Cars/Italian Cars Digest Archive
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Some of you may know that Giovanni Agnelli passed away in December. On the
Alfa Digest there was some recent confusion over exactly which Agnelli passed
away and who he was. I posted the following to straighten out the facts, some
of you may be interested also:
Please note that it was the NEPHEW (not son) of Gianni Agnelli (the chief of
Fiat) that died.
Gianni's brother Umberto (who is also involved with Fiat) was the father of 33
year old Giovanni Alberto Agnelli who died of cancer Dec. 13, 1997 (just last
month) at his home in Turin, Italy. Giovanni (or Junior Agnelli as he was
know... probably leading to the confusion) was heir apparent to the Fiat
empire and was currently board chairman of the Piaggio motor scooter company.
Last year Giovanni's uncle, family patriarch Gianni Agnelli, honorary chairman
of Fiat and Italian senator-for-life, approved Giovanni's succession to
President of Fiat. That move would have put the family firmly in the hands of
an Agnelli again in time for its centenary in 1999.
Known as a "nice guy", one of the best stories about Giovanni was that he once
worked for two months as a lathe operator for a Fiat subsidiary. He posed as
Giovanni Rossi, the Italian equivalent of John Smith, so his identity would
not interfere in his learning the business from the ground up and so he could
indulge what some friends called a taste of blue-collar life.
He joined Piaggio, which had been in his mother's family, in 1987 and within
seven years was board chairman and chief executive of Piaggio Veicoli Europe
SpA. He turned the company around, building it into the leader in the European
scooter sector and the fourth worldwide behind Japanese giants Honda, Suzuki
and Yamaha. Piaggio made a net profit in 1996 of 15 billion lire (then $8.6
million) on turnover of 2.1 trillion lire.
Giovanni was married in 1996 to Avery Frances Howe, a British American
architect whom he met at Brown University while studying international
relations. Their daughter, Virginia Asia, was only 3 months old (being born in
October) when her father passed away. Very sad indeed.
Ed at Caribou Imports
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