GIANNI AGNELLIJohn said Gianni Agnelli, better known as “Lawyer”, for many years the true emblem of Italian capitalism, was born in Turin March 12, 1921. Parents call him by the name of his legendary grandfather, the founder of Fiat , the “Italian Automobile Factory Turin” that Gianni will bring the same to its most radiant, after his years as apprentice, as Vice-President, in the shadow of Vittorio Valletta, another great managerial figure who was able to lead the company in Turin with sagacity and excellence after the death of its founder in 1945.
Valletta had laid the foundations for the growth of insecure Fiat (favoring immigration from the South with an iron fist and conducting negotiations with the trade unions), in an Italy torn out and proven by the experience of World War II. Due to the economic boom and rapid development, then, the Italians were able to afford the products baked by the Turin, ranging from famous Lambretta scooters as to cars as unforgotten as the seventeenth century, making the Fiat brand ubiquitous.
The entry of Gianni Agnelli in the control room, the one that will give absolute power, is dated 1966, when he was finally appointed as Chairman. From that moment on, for many, Agnelli was the real monarch Italian, what the collective has made guardian of the royal family exiled to a constitutional decree.
But the Agnelli family will not prove at all easy. Indeed, unlike its predecessors, the lawyer will have to face what is perhaps the most difficult ever for Italian capitalism, one marked by student protests and workers’ struggles before then, instigated and encouraged by so virulent ‘revolutionary explosion. These are the years in which they follow the so-called “hot autumn”, a ferment of strikes and pickets that bring into serious difficulties, industrial production and competitiveness of Fiat.
Agnelli, however, has on his side a strong character and understanding, tending to the mediation of the social part and the recomposition of the contradictions, all of which allow a forward-looking and optimal management of disputes and avoid exacerbating the conflict.
In the midst of all these difficulties can therefore traccheggiare Fiat to secure ports from the water after all. The results are there for all to see, and from 1974 to 1976 he was elected President of the Confederation in a loud voice, in the name of a guide that manufacturers want to secure and authoritative. This time, his name is seen as a guarantee of balance and reconciliation in the light of muddled Italian political situation, the symbol of the most obvious glaring contradictions.
Unique among European countries, the peninsula was taking the so-called “historic compromise”, that is the kind of agreement that two-faced allies saw the Catholic party par excellence, so viscerally anti-communist, as the Christian Democrats and the Italian Communist Party, a spokesman for socialism real and ideal alliance with Russia (although criticized and repudiated in some ways).
A corollary of this framework is uncertain, should be counted as well other internal and external emergencies of all relief, such as the endemic economic crisis and the increasingly articulated and punchy red terror in those years, a revolutionary movement that drew strength from a certain consensus not so little widespread. Obviously, then, that the “method Valletta” was now inconceivable. Unable to raise its voice with the union, nor was now conceivable that use an “iron fist” with which the successor manager Giovanni Agnelli was known. Needed a job instead of consultation between the government, unions and Confindustria: those responsible for these three forces wisely marry this line “soft.”
But the economic crisis, despite the good intentions, leaving no escape. The iron laws of the market and the good intentions bend at the end of the 70s, the Fiat is in the midst of a terrible storm. In Italy, a very strong crisis rages, productivity falls frighteningly and job cuts are coming. That applies to everyone, not just for the Fiat, only that it is a giant and when it moves, in this case the negative, scary. To deal with the emergency we are talking about something like fourteen thousand layoffs, a real social earthquake, if realized. The event will be an uphill battle phase of union, possibly the hottest since the war, went down in history thanks to highs such as the famous strike of 35 days.
The fulcrum of protest become the gates of the nerve Mirafiori. The deal is completely in the hands of the left, which hegemonic confrontation, but to the surprise secretary of the Communist Party Enrico Berlinguer promises the support of the Communist Party in the event of occupation of the factories. The standoff ended October 14, with the “march of forty” when, quite unexpectedly, the pictures of Fiat took to the streets against the union (the only case in the entire history linked to the strikes).
Fiat, under pressure, waiver of layoffs and put in layoffs twenty-three thousand employees. For the trade unions and the Italian left is a historic defeat. For the Fiat is a breakthrough.
The Turin-based company is then ready to start again on a new basis and momentum. Agnelli, flanked by Cesare Romiti, Fiat relaunched in the international arena and in a few years, transformed into a holding company with interests highly differentiated, which are no longer limited to only the auto industry (which among other things had already absorbed also, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari), but they go from publishing to insurance.
The choice at the moment, is a winner and 80s have proved among the most successful of all the company’s history. Lambs grew ever more like the virtual king of Italy. The his mannerisms, his noble tics are taken as models of style, as a guarantee of refinement: starting with the famous clock above the cuff until all’imitatissima lisp and suede shoes.
Interviewed by magazines across the world, you can allow guest sharp, sometimes only affectionately ironic, above all, by the politicians in charge, to the beloved players of the equally beloved Juventus, the passion of a parallel life (after Fiat, of course) ; team which, curiously, has a habit of looking at mostly one time, the first.
In 1991 he was appointed a senator for life Francesco Cossiga, while in 1996 he moved his hand to Cesare Romiti (who remained in office until 1999). And ‘then the turn of the twenty-two and chairman Paolo Fresco John Elkann (grandson of Gianni) board member, who succeeded another nephew, John (son of Umberto and Fiat President-elect), who died prematurely in a dramatic way for a tumor to the brain. Brilliant and very capable, he was supposed to be the future driving the Fiat empire. His death has shocked not only nearly the same attorney, but all of the immense family business succession plans. Later, another bereavement will hit the already tried Lawyer, the suicide of forty-six son Edward, a victim of a personal drama in which perhaps mingle (determined that it is always impossible to delve into the psyche of others), existential crises and difficult to recognize as a lambs to all affected, with honors, but also the burden that this entails.
On 24 January 2003, Gianni Agnelli, after a long illness turns off. The funeral home is set up in the gallery of the Lingotto, according to the ceremonial of the Senate, while the funeral will take place in the Cathedral of Turin in an official and broadcast live on Rai Uno. Followed up with emotion by a huge crowd, the ceremonies have finally crowned Gianni Agnelli as the true Italian monarch.