From Ferragamo to Damiani, from Merloni to Stirpe: here are the 25 new knights of work


the nominations of mattarella

Award established in 1901 which assigns recognition to those who have operated in their sector continuously and for at least twenty years with independent responsibility, contributing significantly through business activities, economic growth, social development and country innovation

by Nicoletta Cottone

Mattarella dedicates June 2 to Codogno and the victims of the virus

Award established in 1901 which assigns recognition to those who have operated in their sector continuously and for at least twenty years with independent responsibility, contributing significantly through business activities, economic growth, social development and country innovation

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The President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, has signed the decrees with which, on the proposal of the Minister of Economic Development Stefano Patuanelli, in consultation with the Minister of Agricultural Policies Teresa Bellanova, 25 knights of work have been appointed. They are Italian entrepreneurs who have distinguished themselves in five sectors (agriculture, industry, commerce, craftsmanship and credit and insurance activities).

The honor established in 1901
The honor was established in 1901. A recognition to those who “have operated in their sector continuously and for at least twenty years with independent responsibility, contributing significantly through business activities, economic growth, social development and innovation of the country “. With the new appointments, the Knights of Labor are currently 626: from 1901 to the present time, they have been honored with the “work merit” award. The National Federation of Knights of Labor, which brings together all the honors, chaired by Maurizio Sella since October 2019, was born in 1914. Here are the new Knights of Labor.

Maria Allegrini – Verona – Agriculture / viticulture
He is the managing partner of the Allegrini family winery, which he joined in 1983 when his father passed away. It develops marketing and presence on the markets in North America, Scandinavia and Asia Pacific, reaching an export of 85%. In 2001 he started a policy of expansion of production in Tuscany with the brothers with the establishment of the Poggio al Tesoro estate in Bolgheri (Li) and with the purchase of the San Polo estate in Montalcino (Si), thus reaching over 200 hectares of property, to which are added another 100 hectares for rent. In 2008 he bought the Renaissance “Villa della Torre” in Valpolicella where he promoted cultural awards and meetings. It produces over 4 million bottles a year, including Amarone, Bolgheri and Brunello di Montalcino. It employs 42 employees in agricultural activities and 41 in commercial activity.

Antonio Campanile – Perugia – Industry / chemistry
He is president of Saci Industrie Spa, active in the production of detergents for domestic and professional use. In 1974 he entered the family business, born as an artisan soap factory, and developed the business of trading industrial chemicals. In the following years, production was diversified in the detergents and laundry liquids sector and the production of bottles and packaging for detergents began. In the 90s he led the company’s growth with investments in process innovation and the production of private label detergents for the main brands of large-scale distribution in Italy and abroad. Today the company, with an export of 40% and a production of 150,000 tons per year, operates through the factory in Ponte San Giovanni (Pg) and employs over 120 employees.

Giuseppe Castagna – Milan – Credit
He is CEO of Banco BPM Spa, the third largest Italian banking group. His career began in 1981 in Banca Commerciale Italiana. In 1999 he took on the role of Head of the Large Corporate Service, first in Comit and then in Intesa BCI, following the merger between Banca Intesa and Comit. From 2003 to 2013 he held positions of increasing responsibility in Intesa San Paolo, first as general manager of Banco di Napoli Spa and then as general manager of Intesa San Paolo with responsibility for the Banca dei Territori Division. In 2014 he was appointed managing director and general manager of Banca Popolare di Milano and carried out the merger between Banco Popolare and Banca Popolare di Milano, which in 2017 gave rise to Banco BPM Spa. The institute, with 4 million customers, 1,700 branches and 22,000 employees, it covers a 7% market share.

Lorenzo Coppini – Florence – Electroacoustic industry / transducers
He is the managing director of B&C Speakers Spa, founded by his uncle as a small artisan company and today a world leader in the design, production and marketing of internal components for professional loudspeakers. He joined the company in 1993 and held roles of increasing responsibility starting from the commercial and marketing area. Under his leadership, two branches are opened in the United States and Brazil and a new production site of 10,500 m2 in Bagno a Ripoli (Fi). In 2017 it continues the expansion process with the acquisition of Eighteen Sound Srl of Reggio Emilia. With an export of 90%, it operates with two factories and employs 170 employees, of which 10% in the research and development department.

Anna Maria Grazia Doglione – Asti – Industry / steel industry
He is the president of Fondalpress Spa, active in the production of castings in aluminum alloys for the automotive, textile, electromechanical, hydraulic, furniture, lighting and renewable energy sectors. In 1984 he joined the family business holding positions of increasing responsibility in the commercial area and then in the purchasing area. Since the 2000s, he has contributed to the development of the company with the installation of die-casting machines larger than 2,000 tons and in 2012 he built a new production site of 45,000 m2 in Asti which is added to the historic 30,000 m2 factory in Castell’Alfero. In the automotive sector it is one of the suppliers of FCA, Opel, Psa and General Motors. It produces 14 thousand tons of units per year and has an export of 45%. It employs 120 employees.

Ferruccio Ferragamo – Florence – High fashion
He is president of Salvatore Ferragamo Spa, a world leader in the creation, production and sale of luxury footwear, clothing and accessories. At 18 he joined the family business, initially following the productions until he became CEO in 1984 and president in 2006. From 1986 he developed the expansion of the Group on foreign markets with the opening of single-brand boutiques first in Asia and subsequently in Latin America, the Middle East and South Africa. Social and environmental responsibility is at the center of development strategies, as evidenced by the highly sustainable Osmannoro (Fi) production center and the Corporate Sustainability Plan adopted since 2017. With over 4,200 employees, 350 patents, it is present in 90 countries with 654 single-brand stores.

Nicola Fiasconaro – Palermo – Handicrafts / confectionery products
He is the administrator of Fiasconaro Srl, a family company that produces natural leavened bakery products and Sicilian confectionery specialties. At the end of the 90s he successfully started the production of artisan panettone with typical Sicilian ingredients, such as candied fruit from Lentini and almonds from Avola. In 2000 he built a new 4,800 m2 factory with his brothers. The growth path and the notoriety of the productions led him in 2005 to patent the panettone “Dolce Presepe”. Today the company operates with three production sites in Castelbuono (Pa) and with an export of 20% it is present in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia and Oceania. It invests more than 45% of its turnover in the supply of strictly Sicilian raw materials. It employs 32 employees.

Mario Frandino – Cuneo – Industry / food
He is managing director of Sedamyl Spa, leader in Italy in the transformation of wheat for the production of starch and derivatives, gluten and alcohol, and president of Etea Srl, mainly active in the renewable energy sector. In 1980 he joined the Sedamyl family business, a small seasonal fruit distillery, of which he led the industrial transformation by introducing the distillation of cereals and expanding production. With 2 production sites in the province of Cuneo and a distribution site, it employs 165 employees with an export of 50%. In 1993, from the experience of self-production of electricity gained from the transformation of wheat, Etea Srl, now also present in France, the United Kingdom, Albania, Romania, Serbia and Bosnia with 17 production plants and storage sites and an export of the 90%. It employs 340 employees.

Maria Laura Garofalo – Rome – Private health
He is CEO of Garofalo Health Care Spa, a Group present in Italy in accredited private healthcare. In 1990 he joined the family business active in Rome, among others, with the European Hospital Spa, Aurelia 80 Spa and Città di Roma Spa nursing homes. In 2001 he started the construction of the Raffaele Garofalo Institute for rehabilitation in Piedmont. outpatient care. Upon the disappearance of his father, he takes over the leadership of the Group and, through a policy of acquisitions, develops its presence in Liguria, Emilia Romagna, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia and consolidates its position in the social assistance and diagnostic sectors. With 20,000 hospitalizations per year and 1 million outpatient services, it operates with 24 facilities in 7 regions. It employs 1,350 employees.

Alessandro Gilardi – Turin – Industry / construction
He is president and CEO of Costruzioni Generali Gilardi Spa, a family company born as a general construction and civil engineering company which he joined in 1984 with the role of technical director. Through innovative technologies, it specializes in the commercial, hotel and hospital sectors, in the environmental recovery of residential areas, in the restoration of monumental buildings and in the construction of sports facilities. Among other things, it builds the Juventus Stadium, some pavilions for Expo 2015 and renovates the Centro Direzionale and the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese. Under his leadership, the company has expanded its presence abroad by participating in tenders such as that for the Bukoba airport in Tanzania and the Doha stadium for the 2022 World Cup. It employs 100 employees.

Guido Roberto Grassi Damiani – Switzerland – High-end jewelery
He is president of the Damiani Group, a leader in the creation, creation and distribution of high-end jewelry. He enters the family business of the goldsmith district of Valenza Po (Al) holding roles of increasing responsibility. Since the 1990s, the Group has started to internationalize with over 60 single-brand boutiques worldwide and branches in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. It takes over the Calderoni and Rocca jewelery brands. Under his leadership, employment levels increase from 220 in 1995 to the current 700. In 2020, with the acquisition of Venini, the Group relaunches the historic Murano glass factory. With the original production plant and a holding in Switzerland for the promotion of products on foreign markets, it is present in the world with 63 single-brand stores.

Giuseppe Maiello – Naples – Trade / perfumery articles
He is the founder and executive vice president of Gargiulo & Maiello Spa, active in the wholesale trade of hygiene and beauty products. He began working at 10 years continuing his studies and at 21 he was hired as a sales representative. In 1968 he started a small company for the wholesale sale of home hygiene products. In the 80s he made investments in technology, logistics and human resources and ten years later he expanded the offer to products for personal hygiene and beauty. The headquarters, from the initial 20 m2 shop in Naples, is transferred to the Interport of Nola on an area of ​​10,000 m2 with a logistic center of 2,000 m2. Today the company, with three brands and 120 perfumeries, 80 of which for retail sale under the “Idea Bellezza” brand and 40 in the Upim stores, employs 80 employees.

Enrico Marchi – Treviso – Airport activities
Since 2000 he has been president and CEO of Save Spa, the management company of Marco Polo airport in Venice. In 2007 it acquires the majority of AerTre Spa and enters the management of the Treviso-Sant’Angelo airport. In 2014, with the acquisition of 40% of Catullo Spa, it created the North East Airport Pole, with the airports of Venice, Treviso, Verona and Brescia. Today there are over 50 airlines operating at Marco Polo for more than 100 destinations and 32 million passengers in transit each year in the North East Airport Pole. It employs 470 employees. He is also president of Banca Finint, active in financial, movable, instrumental and real estate leasing. The company manages 3 real estate funds for the construction of social housing and employs 333 employees.

Luciano Martini – Ravenna – Industry / food
He is the founder and president of Unigrà Spa, a leader in the transformation and sale of edible fats and semi-finished products for the food sector. In 1963 he opened a factory for the packaging of lard, which he later joined the processing of vegetable fats, margarine, chocolate and chocolate substitutes. He leads the company’s growth with the creation of new departments to produce vegetable creams and with new refining units. Since the 1990s, internationalization has begun with the establishment of distribution companies in Spain and Russia. Today the company is present in over 100 countries with 15 subsidiaries and an export of 40%. It operates with a production site of 320,000 m2 in Conselice (Ra), a refining department which has 6 lines and 3 automated warehouses. It employs 1,000 employees.

Paolo Merloni – Ancona – Industry / household appliances
He is the executive president of Ariston Thermo Spa, a world-leading family company in the production of systems for water and space heating and domestic comfort. From 2001 he started the expansion process abroad: in Europe, with the acquisitions of Elco, Chaffoteaux, and Cuenod; on the South African market, taking over Heat Tech Geysers in 2014; in North America with NTI and HTP between 2016 and 2017 and in South America with Calorex in 2019. Under his leadership, the number of employees increased from 3,000 to 7,000, production from 4.5 million units to over 8 million and the countries in which the Group is present from 18 to 40. In 2019 it invested 77 million euros in research and development. With 26 production sites in the world and 24 centers for research and development, it has an export of 90%.

Marco Nocivelli – Milan – Industry / systems for refrigeration
He is president and CEO of Epta Spa, a family group active in the production and marketing of products for commercial refrigeration. In the early 90s he joined the company with positions of increasing responsibility. Since 2005 he has led its development by leveraging internationalization and opens two production plants in China and Turkey, followed in 2019 by the acquisition of the third US manufacturer of refrigerated display cases. In 2013, through the joint venture with Iarp Srl, it enters refrigeration for Food & Beverage. Under his guidance, the company has patented FTE – Full Transcritical Efficiency technology for CO2 refrigerant systems. With 11 production sites, 4 of which in Italy, it produces 230,000 units per year and employs 4,900 employees.

Guido Ottolenghi- Ravenna – Port logistics
He has been president of PIR Spa since 1994, a family company active in the storage, handling and distribution of liquid bulk and solid products. Since the 2000s, it has consolidated its presence in the Mediterranean with the establishment of La Petrolifera Italo Albanese, present with terminals for petroleum products in the bay of Vlora and with a stake in the Zarzis terminal in Tunisia. Together with Edison, it has started the construction of the first LNG depot in Italy, a low environmental impact fuel in Ravenna. The plant, operating in 2021, will have a storage capacity of 20,000 m³ of LNG. Today the company, with 10 terminals in the Mediterranean, 1 million m³ of storage for petroleum, chemical and food liquids and an annual movement of about 5 million tons of products, employs 275 employees.

Gian Battista Parati – Cremona – Industry / high specialization
He is CEO of Marsilli Spa, a manufacturer of winding and assembly systems for coils and motors. Son of direct farmers, in 1973 he entered the company’s Turin office as a designer. A year later he was responsible for the new branch in Castelleone (Cr). At the beginning of the 80s as an employee he entered the shareholder base and in 1996 he became the sole partner of the company. A development phase begins with the acquisition of shareholdings in the capital of strategic partners in the precision mechanics sectors and in the design and development of automation software. Since 2011 the company has opened offices in China, Mexico, Germany and Russia. Today, with a production plant in Italy, 40 industrial patents and an export of 95%, it employs 530 employees.

Umberto Pesce – Potenza – Industry / engineering
He is president of PSC Spa, a family business born as a company for the installation and maintenance of electrical systems and today active in the design and construction of technological systems for large construction works. In the 90s he opened a branch in Rome and started collaborating with the main General Contractors. Since 2013, it has started to acquire orders abroad and takes over plant engineering companies from the railway and energy sector. Today the Group is divided into 5 business units: electromechanical, fire, rail, naval and telecommunications and carries out turnkey plant engineering projects. With 22 offices in Italy and 8 worldwide, it employs 2,500 employees. He contributed to the construction of the Fuksas Cloud in Rome and is participating in the project for the Al Bayt stadium in Qatar.

Federico Pittini – Udine – Industry / steel industry
He is president of the Pittini Group, a family company active in the production of long steels for the building and mechanical sector. In 2001, after having held positions of increasing responsibility, he was appointed managing director of Ferriere Nord Spa, leader of the Pittini Group. In 2003 he created the corporate school “Officine Pittini”. With the acquisitions of Kovinar in Slovenia in 2007 and BSTG in Austria in 2013, active in the production of electrowelded mesh, to become industry leaders in the European market. It is present in Italy, Austria and Slovenia with 18 production sites. It produces over 3 million tons of steel and exports 63% of its turnover. Three patents for industrial inventions, 112 product certifications and 11 registered trademarks. It employs 1,800 employees.

Giovanni Ravazzotti – South Africa – Industry / ceramics
He is the founder and president of Italtile Ltd, active in the production and marketing of ceramic materials for coatings. His entrepreneurial career began in 1969 with the establishment in South Africa of a company for the import and sale of tiles. Since the end of the 70s, he has added production to his sales activity and starts a growth path that will lead the company to open production plants also in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It employs 2,545 employees. Through the Italtile Ceramic Foundation, it supports philanthropic projects for local communities. It gave impetus to the birth of the Italian – South African Chamber of Commerce, of which he was president from 2004 to 2008.

Giorgia Serrati – Genoa – Trade of preserved fish
He is president of Icat Food Spa, founded by her husband and active in the import and distribution of fish and vegetable preserves. Upon the disappearance of the spouse, he takes over the company. From the start, he started investing in management technologies and expanded the warehouse. In 2014 he signed an agreement with the Cape Verdean Frescomar for the supply of tuna from sustainable fishing for the historic brands “Moro Tuna” and “Angelo Parodi”. Over the years it has taken over the Spanish brand of olives Alisa and has developed the range of products with vegetable and fruit preserves, snacks and animal feed. Today the company, with 15 brands and a warehouse in Serravalle Scrivia (Al), is present in large-scale distribution, retail trade and catering. It employs 35 employees.

Silvia Stein – Vicenza – High-end knitwear
He is the president of Maglificio Miles Spa, active in the design and production of high-end knitwear for third parties. In 1962 he established a craft workshop. From the meeting with Yves Saint Laurent in the late 1960s, which entrusted the company with the creation of fine collections, he began collaborations with international fashion brands including Valentino, Bottega Veneta, Lanvin and Donna Karan. Through constant investments in process innovation and in the experimentation of new production techniques, it guides the development of the company which today, with a production plant of over 7,000 square meters, manufactures 200,000 items per year. It has a digital archive that collects more than 20,000 stitches. It employs 130 employees.

Maurizio Stirpe – Frosinone – Industry / components
He has been president of Prima Sole Components Spa since 1998, a family company active in the design and production of plastic components for the automotive and household appliances sectors. Since 2000, internationalization began with the opening of three factories, one in France for the supply of Whirlpool Europe, one in Germany and one in Slovakia to serve the automotive and household appliances sectors. Today the Group is a supplier of automotive brands such as FCA, BMW, Volvo, Volkswagen and Daimler. It operates with 12 production plants, including 8 in Italy, and 2 research and development centers with 60 researchers. The export is worth 30% of the turnover. It employs 2,920 employees, of whom 1,990 are in Italy.

Guido Valentini – Milan – Industry / engineering
He has been president of Rupes Spa since 1993, active in the production of professional tools and suction systems. When his father disappears, he takes over the leadership of the family business and relaunches it with investments in product innovation and the construction of a new production plant in Vermezzo (Mi). In 2010 he patented “Bigfoot”, a worldwide recognized polishing system for metal surfaces. In 2015 he started the internationalization of the company with the establishment of Rupes Usa Inc. and the construction of a new factory in Colorado. Today the company, with over 150 registered patents, operates with 4 production sites in the Vermezzo headquarters, one in the United States and employs 102 employees.

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