Who is Marina Caprotti, new president of Esselunga

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An empire of food founded way back in 1957. A supermarket chain that has 25 thousand employees without considering the related industries. A network that develops in eight regions and a turnover of over 8 billion euros per year. The one of long S it is a story of work and effort in a country where innovation is an unfulfillable dream for many. A mirage. Too much bureaucracy for those who try to do business every day and promote development. Suffice it to say that in Italy it takes twelve years to open a superstore. Esselunga was born from a visionary, Bernardo Caprotti. An old-fashioned man. We are in full economic boom. And he manages to achieve the impossible. Build an empire. Now you are at the helm of the company, Marina. Bernardo’s daughter. A life of few interviews, few photographs, few public appearances, but a lot of work.

The judicial saga

That of the Caprotti it is a long family saga made of quarrels, lawsuits, lawyers, arbitrators, actions and trustees, which lead to strong tensions for the whole family. The first clashes at Caprotti’s house date back to 1972. Since then the causes have continued until 2016, when the entrepreneur passed away.

If the children had many disagreements with their father, even after his death, the process of finding a solution among all the heirs was neither short nor trivial. And it closed on March 20, thanks to an arbitration that lasted 13 months. It is established that the tricolor supermarket giant is worth 6.1 billion. From there the evaluation – and the consequent liquidation – of the shares of Giuseppe and Violetta by the sister Marina (second bed daughter), who is forced into debt by the group to find the resources with which to pay the brothers.

“Family will not be there, but at least there will be no quarrels”Bernardo wrote in his will. When putting his last wishes on paper, the entrepreneur had in fact asked the heirs to sell thelong S to a foreign group, such as the Dutch Ahold, to guarantee a bright future and an international position.

Since the company was very heavy to run and did not want to leave such a burden on its family members, Bernardo asked the heirs not to fight and sell Esselunga to an international giant. Marina however does not give up. And together with her husband Francesco Moncada, she decides to run the company and entrust the CEO Sami Kahale operational management of the group.

This is also a judicial story. Made of lawyers and fratricidal struggles. That branch of the Caprotti family that remained alongside Bernardo until the end, liquidated the other branch last April, that of the children born from the entrepreneur’s first marriage to Giorgina Venosta. And so, facing the notary Piergaetano Marchetti, Marina and their mother Giuliana take out a 1.83 billion check to buy the Esselunga shares inherited from Giuseppe and Violetta Caprotti (15% each) becoming owners of 100% of the Supermarkets holding, which controls the giant of the large retailers .

Three and a half years after the disappearance of the entrepreneur and the opening of the will, control of the company passes to the youngest daughter Marina who, unlike the two brothers, had never worked alongside her father in the company of family.

Today Marina, 42 years old, and from 2017 vice president of the group, becomes the new executive president of the company. One of the largest realities of organized distribution. The decision was taken unanimously by the board of directors convened yesterday morning in Milan to outline the new composition of the board. The father wanted to sell everything. And free the children from the burden of the enterprise. He did not succeed. And from today thelong S boasts a second generation of top executives. Marina, after four years of intense commitment in the company, with a constant and discreet presence that has seen her design, with her husband Francesco Moncada, the development lines of Esselunga, is preparing to take on the strategic decisions that look to the future of the company.

Sickle and cart

The life of Bernardo, father of Marina, is the life of a successful entrepreneur. He is the man who brought supermarkets to Italy to excellence. He made it an international case. To remember the book “Sickle and Cart”, written at 81 years, in which denounces the rotten of the Red coop in the field. Tell us what you had to undergo at the hands of these.

The founder of Esselunga reconstructs a decades-long comparison exchanged until a few years ago for normal competition. Instead, meticulously putting together the mosaic tiles, a Caprotti a precise design appears: to make his company disappear from the market. The entrepreneur documents, evidence in hand, a series of events that at first glance seem to have failed entrepreneurial attempts, in reality they prove to be part of a censurable strategic plan of others.

He writes that many Esselunga initiatives have been sunk over the years by Legacoop, the economic giant under the orders of the PCI-PDS-DS, with the indispensable support of the local left administrations. Etruscan artifacts used as a pick, licenses left to expire (but promptly turned over to the Coop), land paid six times the market value, conditioning of mayors and assessors. Everything serves to block the expansion of the Lombard entrepreneur who only asks to “serve”, to be able to do the job learned by Nelson Rockefeller, of which he is a partner at the beginning of the business. Operations that had taken years of preparation and huge investments were stolen from the competition in a matter of hours. Up to the pressure of Romani Prodi on Caprotti to keep his company “in Italian hands”: that is, to be sold to the Coop.

Future plans

This is the cumbersome legacy that reaches Marina. A empire made of hard work and that request of the father to sell everything to a foreign company. Maybe just like a defeat to the left that has fought its business for years.

Vice President of long S will be Carlo Salza, in the company since 2002 and for eleven years managing director before the arrival of Sami Kahale, the former P&G manager who took over the role from January 2020. It is Salza himself, appointed in July 2019 as president in pectore, to invite Marina to take on the commitment of the presidency, to further strengthen the sign of the Caprotti family at the helm of the group, called to major challenges in the growth of the supermarket network.

To relaunch the business, Marina focuses on a few, but targeted, projects. Proximity shops with sign LaEsse (two are open in Milan and others will follow during the year), in addition to continuing the development of ecommerce which sees Esselunga play a key role in this sector too. In the head it has a growth plan to enhance the role of the company as a distribution group but also of the food, through its own gastronomic production and excellence such as the Elisenda patisserie.

You are aware of how important it is for Esselunga to continue offering Italian families quality and convenience. Without forgetting issues such as sustainability and the fight against waste. “As a woman and a mother, it is a further stimulus to work in this direction”, he recently said. This is a story of taste and tradition. The best of made in Italy. Now behind the wheel of this 63-year-old car is her: Marina Caprotti. Daughter of a visionary entrepreneur.



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