John Elkann, 32, Takes Helm of Italy's Fiat Dynasty

Elkann held position of vice chairman at Fiat.

The Agnelli dynasty on May 13 crowned a new czar of Italy's Fiat empire, 32-year-old John Elkann, scion of the family known as "Italy's Kennedys," the holding company IFIL said. Already vice chairman of Fiat, Elkann replaces 83-year-old Gianluigi Gabetti, a close associate of the Agnelli family, at the head of IFIL, which manages a portfolio worth some eight billion euros (US$12 billion).

The iconic industrial family's holdings include a 30% stake in Fiat, 2.4% in the banking group Intesa Sanpaolo and 62% in the Turin football team Juventus. The holding company is indirectly held by the Giovanni Agnelli Company, which will remain Gabetti's province.

Gabetti, who groomed Elkann to assume the leadership position, said recently that his charge "has completed the course, he is more than ready." The legendary Giovanni "Gianni" Agnelli, who died in January 2003 after more than 50 years at the helm, had designated his grandson as his successor.

The son of Agnelli's daughter Margherita and the writer Alain Elkann, John Elkann was born in New York and had a cosmopolitan childhood in Britain, Brazil and France. Agnelli designed Elkann's career path within Fiat, whose brands include Lancia and Alfa Romeo. Agnelli's death in 2003 and that of Elkann's great uncle Umberto the next year at age 70 propelled the youth towards center stage earlier than planned. Elkann joined IFIL in 2003 and became Fiat vice president in 2004.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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