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Cesare Romiti

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Cesare Romiti
Sandro Pertini e Gianni Agnelli.jpg
Sandro Pertini (right), President of the Italian Republic from 1978 to 1985, with Gianni Agnelli (center). In the background, Cesare Romiti
Born(1923-06-24)24 June 1923
Rome, Italy
Died18 August 2020(2020-08-18) (aged 97)
NationalityItalian
OccupationEconomist and Business Executive
Spouse(s)
Luigia Castaldi (born 1923)
(m. 1948; her death Template:Str ≠ len)
ChildrenMaurizio (born 1949)
Piergiorgio (born 1951)

Cesare Romiti (24 June 1923 – 18 August 2020) was an Italian economist and businessman. He was best known as an executive of both state-owned firms and private companies, including Fiat and Alitalia. He acquired the nickname Il Duro or the tough guy referring to his management style while he was serving as the head of Fiat.[1][2]

Early life[edit source | edit]

Romiti was born in Rome on 24 June 1923.[3] His father worked as a post office worker, and was dismissed from his job due to his opposition to the fascist government of Benito Mussolini.[4] He had two brothers,[5] and his family was poor. Romiti later described how he stole a bag of flour from a deposit during the German occupation of his hometown and that it was "welcomed like manna at home".[4] He subsequently received a degree in economics and commercial sciences in 1945.[3]

Career and activities[edit source | edit]

Romiti began his career at the Bombrini Parodi Delfino (BFD) munitions group in 1947.[3] When the group merged with Snia Viscosa in 1968, he began to serve as the latter's general financial director.[6] Next he joined Alitalia.[7] In December 1970, he became a board member of Alitalia and then was appointed general manager and chief executive of the company.[3] His term at the company lasted until 1973.[2] In September 1973, he became the chief executive officer of the IRI finance firm, Italstat.[6]

Romiti worked for Fiat in various capacities for twenty years from 1974 to 1995.[6] He was also one of the major shareholders of the company.[8] After joining the company in 1974, amidst the oil crisis that affected the automobile industry, he went on to become CEO six years later. Shortly afterwards, he played a part in breaking up a strike by factory workers, which was started when Fiat proposed dismissing 14,000 employees. Romiti, together with approximately 40,000 managers from the company and other white-collar workers, demonstrated in Turin calling for the right to work. He laid blame on the Red Brigades, contending that they had pervaded the leadership of the Italian General Confederation of Labour. Consequently, he was the target of an attempted kidnapping. The strike ended after several weeks, with the laid-off employees granted unemployment benefits, but Romiti asserted that the future of Fiat and its employees had been secured.[4]

Romiti succeeded Gianni Agnelli as the chairman of the firm when Agnelli stepped down.[8] Romiti led the firm from 28 February 1996 to 22 June 1998.[3] He was instrumental in the company's return to profitability during this period.[9] He achieved this by having Fiat launch new car models and shutting down the company's historic factory in Lingotto.[4] Paolo Fresco succeeded him in the aforementioned post.[10][11]

Romiti was the chairman of the board of RCS Quotidiani S.p.A. from 2 June 1998 to 15 July 2004.[3] Next he served as the chairman of Impregilo from May 2005 to 2007.[12][13] He became the president of Italian China Institution in 2000 and was also appointed its president in 2004.[12][14] He was also an advisor professor at Donghua University.[14] He was given honorary citizenship by China in 2006, in recognition of his endeavours to boost ties between the two countries.[4]

Controversy[edit source | edit]

In April 1997, Romiti was convicted of falsifying the company accounts, committing tax fraud, and making illegal payments to political parties for the period between 1980 and 1992. Finding Romiti guilty, the court in Fiat's headquarters of Turin handed him an eighteen month suspended prison term.[15][1] In 2000, the Supreme Court commuted the sentence to eleven months and ten days, for the same charges, and in December 2003, the Court of Appeal in Turin, revoked the sentence for false accounting.[16][17]

Personal life and death[edit source | edit]

Romiti married his wife Luigia Gastaldi in 1948 and was married until Luigia's death in 2001. Romiti and his wife Luigia had two sons, Maurizio (born 1949) and Piergiorgio (born 1951).[18] He passed away on 18 August 2020 at the age of 97.[19][20] There is some uncertainty over the location of his death with the Associated Press reporting that he died in his hometown, Rome,[19] while the Italian newspaper Il Mattino reported that he died in Milan.[21]

Honors and awards[edit source | edit]

Romiti was the recipient of various state honors, including:

In addition, Romiti was also awarded by various organizations, including the Chinese people's association for friendship with foreign countries.[14] He was named as honorary chairman of the Aspen Institute. On 21 June 2004, he became the honorary president of RCS MediaGroup.[24]

Writings[edit source | edit]

  • George S. Odiorne; Cesare Romiti (1990). MBO = Management by Objectives. Economia e management (n. 0009). Milan: Sperling & Kupfer. pp. XI, 412. ISBN 9788820004835. OCLC 848880262.
  • Michael E Porter; Cesare Romiti; Wallter Giorgio Scott; Riccardo Varaldo (1992). Competizione globale (6th ed.). Turin: Isvor-FIAT, Isedi. pp. XXXII, 681. OCLC 878943684.
  • Francesco Perrini; Matteo Piccinali; Cesare Romiti (2010). Investimenti e contratti in Cina. Impresa & professionisti (in Italian). Milan: EGEA. pp. xxiv, 319. ISBN 9788823832831. OCLC 878748211 – via citations on Google.
  • Giampaolo Pansa; Cesare Romiti (1988). Questi anni alla Fiat. BUR saggi (1st ed.). Milan: Rizzoli. ISBN 9788817536233. OCLC 449934087. Archived from the original on 25 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019 – via archive.is.
  • Cesare Romiti; Paolo Madron (2012). Storia segreta del capitalismo italiano : cinquant'anni di economia, finanza e politica raccontati da un grande protagonista. Le spade (n. 28). Milan: Longanesi. p. 286. ISBN 9788830428126. OCLC 811153654.
  • Cesare Romiti; Antonio Mosconi (1977). La politica industriale e la politica monetaria - la fiat nel processo d' integrazione europea. OCLC 848254717.

References[edit source | edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Italy Convicts Fiat Chairman; Bars Him from Corporate Posts". The New York Times. 10 April 1997. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Gianni Vattimo; René Noël Girard (2010). Christianity, Truth, and Weakening Faith: A Dialogue. Columbia University Press. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-231-52041-6.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "Cesare Romiti". China Tibet Online. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 D'Emilio, Frances (18 August 2020). "Cesare Romiti, who steered Fiat through tough times, dies". Associated Press. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  5. "Cesare Romiti, historic president and CEO of Fiat, died". Time 24. 18 August 2020. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Wolfang Achtner (17 December 1995). "The tough cop takes the wheel; profile; Cesare Romiti". The Independent. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  7. "Alitalia—Airline To Divas & Popes—Flies To Sunset". The Financial Express. Rome. Reuters. 5 May 2004. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Alan Friedman (12 December 1995). "Successor at Automaker is 72 and a Target of Prosecutors". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  9. Jon Glover (24 January 2003). "Giovanni Agnelli". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  10. Alan Friedman (23 January 1998). "Embattled Fiat Chief to Resign in June and Be Succeeded by the No. 2 at GE". The New York Times. Rome. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  11. "BMW confident as sales charge to pounds 2Obn record". The Birmingham Post. 30 January 1998. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Romiti". Milano Fashion Summit. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  13. "Impregilo appoints Cesare Romiti chairman, Alberto Lina CEO". AFX News. Milan. 2 May 2005. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 "Cesare Romiti, President of Italian China Foundation, Appointed Consulting Professor of DHU". Donghua University. Archived from the original on 24 February 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  15. Alan Friedman (10 April 1997). "Fiat's 'Tough Guy' Chairman Is Found Guilty of Corruption". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  16. "Cassazione, per Romiti confermata la condanna - la Repubblica.it". Archivio - la Repubblica.it (in Italian). Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  17. "Torino, revocata la condanna di Romiti". web.archive.org. 12 September 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  18. Wolfang Achtner (17 December 1995). "The tough cop takes the wheel; profile; Cesare Romiti". The Independent. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Frances D'Emilio (18 August 2020). "Cesare Romiti, who steered Fiat through tough times, dies". Associated Press. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  20. "Cesare Romiti, historic president and CEO of Fiat, died". Time 24. 18 August 2020. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  21. "Morto Cesare Romiti, domani la camera ardente a Milano: giovedì i funerali a Cetona". Il Mattino. 18 August 2020. Retrieved 18 August 2020. (in Italian)
  22. "Cesare Romiti, former CEO and president of Fiat, has died: protagonist of Italian capitalism". Teller Report. 18 August 2020. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  23. 23.0 23.1 "Le onorificenze della Repubblica Italiana". www.quirinale.it. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  24. "Vittorio Colao is the new Chief Executive Officer". RCS MediaGroup. 28 July 2004. Retrieved 25 April 2013.[permanent dead link]