Confindustria appoints new president

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In March 2004, Italy's main employers' confederation, Confindustria, appointed a new president, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo. The appointment of Mr Montezemolo, who succeeds Antonio D'Amato, may mark a turning point in the organisation's strategy.

On 11 March 2004, the executive board of Confindustria, Italy's main employers' confederation, appointed a new president, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, to replace the outgoing Antonio D'Amato, who took office in 2000 (IT0003148N). Mr Montezemolo won a sweeping majority, obtaining 80% of the vote on the executive board (126 in favour, six against, 22 abstentions and 10 absent). Only Luigi Abete, president of Confindustria in 1992, was appointed with such an high percentage of the vote (85%).

Mr Montezemolo is the second president of Confindustria, after the former governor of the Bank of Italy (Banca d'Italia), Guido Carli, who is not an entrepreneur. In 1973, Mr Montezemolo became assistant to Enzo Ferrari, of the eponymous automobile company. From 1977 to 1981, Mr Montezemolo was the external relations manager of the Fiat company and in 1982 became the managing director of Cinzano International. From 1985 to 1990 he was the general manager of the World Cup football championship which took place in Italy. Since 1991, he has been head of operations at Ferrari, whose turnover has increased from EUR 258 million to EUR 2.4 billion over the past 10 years.

The high level of executive board support for Mr Montezemolo, as well as his personal profile, mark a significant change in the strategy of Confindustria. The presidency of Mr D'Amato was characterised by the co-existence of numerous and different approaches. The approach of the outgoing Confindustria leadership was so often in line with that of the centre-right government that Confindustria was accused of 'collaborating' with the government. Conflicts with the trade unions, and in particular with the General Confederation of Italian Workers (Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro, Cgil), also characterised Mr D'Amato's presidency. The newly appointed president, by contrast, seems determined to achieve cohesion and restore unity within the employers' organisation. Mr Montezemolo wants Confindustria to hold positions independent from the government and reopen dialogue with the unions.

The new president will present his programme and his staff at an executive board meeting on 29 April 2004. On 26 May, Mr Montezemolo will be officially named as president during Confindustria's annual meeting. His programme is still to be defined but Mr Montezemolo has already outlined the guidelines on which his term in office will be based:

  • a relaunch of competitiveness and new impetus for 'Made in Italy' products;
  • transparent relations with the banks which have recently been involved in the serious financial scandals of the Cirio and Parmalat companies, avoiding 'easy justifications'; and
  • dialogue with the trade unions and autonomy from the government, involving 'loyal and correct relations with the government and with the social actors, seeking to share important development objectives'.

The appointment of Mr Montezemolo was welcomed by the trade unions. Savino Pezzotta, the general secretary of the Italian Confederation of Workers' Unions (Confederazione Italiana Sindacato Lavoratori, Cisl), expressed confidence because 'Mr Montezemolo proved to be able to do his job very well. He knows what he wants and represents an innovative part of the Italian industry'. According to Mr Pezzotta 'this is a positive signal'.

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