Quality, sustainability, innovation, exports: 2013 Leonardo Prizes for Made in Italy excellence awarded today at the Quirinal Palace

News eng   19 February 2014

Rome, 20 February 2014 ­– Seven Italian entrepreneurs, each in their own sector, have made a significant contribution to promoting and strengthening the image of Made in Italy and Italian quality around the world, with a focus on innovation and internationalisation. Today, the President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano awarded the 2013 Leonardo Prizes at the Quirinal Palace,in the presence of the Deputy Minister for Economic Development Carlo Calenda, the Vice-President of Confindustria Diana Bracco, the President of the Italian Trade Promotion Agency (ICE) Riccardo M. Monti and the Chair of the Leonardo Committee Luisa Todini.

Now in its 19th year, the initiative promoted by the Leonardo Committeestarted in 1993, based on a common idea from Senator Sergio Pininfarina and Senator Gianni Agnelli, Confindustria, the Italian Trade Agency and a group of entrepreneurs, aimed at spreading and strengthening Italy’s image of excellence around the world.

Every year the Committee also awards the Leonardo International Prize to a leading overseas figure who has helped to develop and strengthen cultural and economic ties with Italy. This year the prize was awarded to Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Group CEO of the Mubadala Development Company, “which bears witness to the ever closer business and trade collaboration between Italy and the United Arab Emirates, one of the most dynamic economies in the Arabian Gulf region and an increasingly important outlet for our companies’ products and services,” said Luisa Todini, Chairman of the Leonardo Committee.

Today more than ever, to help get our companies back on their feet, we need a sense of responsibility and team work between entrepreneurs and institutions. Stability and concrete policies are required to reduce the competitiveness gap, to start simplifying bureaucratic procedures, and to reduce the burden of labour and energy costs. Fundamental measures should also be implemented to attract overseas investors, which would immediately benefit employment and growth. We hope this will be a priority for the new government,” said Luisa Todini. “The dual need to promote Italian companies’ competitiveness in overseas markets and attract investment has been a key issue on the government’s agenda; let’s hope that future decisions follow the same direction. The excellent performances being honoured today go to show that, thanks to strong presence in overseas markets and constant investment in innovation, it’s possible to be competitive at international level and continue to assert the quality of Made in Italy products around the world. However, a great deal still needs to be done to support the efforts of entrepreneurs, against an economic backdrop that’s still difficult despite the first glimmers of positive signs.”

In 2013 Leonardo Committee companies achieved a total turnover of more than €310 billion, of which exports accounted for 55%.

“Italy can only start moving again by taking advantage of its two great assets: its ability to produce goods and ideas that generate interest, enthusiasm and admiration throughout the world, and the extraordinary innovative energy of its entrepreneurs. The Leonardo Prize honours these champions of innovation, who are able to dream up and invent Italian successes and achievements around the world,” said Riccardo M. Monti, President of the Italian Trade Agency (ICE).

“Confindustria has always been active on the research and development front, partly to help make Italy a leading player in European innovation, especially by providing services to companies that enhance participation in competitive bidding,” said Diana Bracco, Vice-President of Confindustria responsible for Research and Innovation and President of Expo 2015 SpA. “Indeed, European research programmes are a great growth opportunity for the worlds of business and science, as they enable us to tap into the vital funding that’s so scarce in Italy. Research and innovation funding that we tirelessly request from government institutions, and which we hope the new government will managing to allocate, based on an understanding that this adds up to an investment in the country’s future rather than costs. This is also a valid argument for Expo 2015,” Diana Bracco added, “which represents an important reservoir of economic and employment growth and makes innovation and support for young talent one of its strengths.”

The 2013 Leonardo Prize, which is usually given to a leading figure who has made an outstanding contribution to promoting Italy’s image around the world, was this year jointly awarded to two entrepreneurs: Diego Della Valle, Chairman and CEO of TOD’S SpA, and Gianni Zonin, Chairman of Casa Vinicola Zonin.

The 2013 Leonardo Italian Quality Prizes, given to companies that stand out for their quality and flair for exports, were awarded to: Amplifon SpA (CEO Franco Moscetti); the Dompé SpA Group (Chairman Sergio Dompé); Kerakoll SpA (CEO Gianluca Sghedoni); and the Mossi Ghisolfi Group (Chairman Vittorio Ghisolfi).

The Leonardo Start-up Prize, which was established last year by the Leonardo Committee in collaboration with the Ministry for Economic Development and the Italian Trade Promotion Agency (ICE) and aimed at outstanding Italian start-ups in terms of innovation, internationalisation and social impact, was awarded to NISO Biomed, a biomedical company from Turin.

As in previous years, the ceremony included the Graduate Awards, which are given for the most brilliant theses on the various Made In Italy sectors, and are funded by Leonardo Committee member entrepreneurs. In 2013 the nine competitions regarded related to energy sources, mechatronics, fashion, enhancement of cultural heritage and nautical design, with a total of 11 graduate awards, each worth €3,000. “At a time when the economic crisis seems to be putting training and research at risk, I believe it’s particularly important to contribute towards investment in the future of the new generations,” Luisa Todini said. “Since 1997 we have honoured and supported more than 200 young graduates from all over Italy.”



DIEGO DELLA VALLE – Chairman and CEO of Tod’s Group

Diego Della Valle was born in Casette D’Ete di Sant’Elpidio a Mare on 30 December 1953. After studying law and then working for a time in the United States, in 1975 he joined his father in running the family firm, where he learnt high-quality craft manufacturing techniques. Together with his father and brother, he promoted the creation of new product lines and brands that have been the hallmark of the company’s growth and success as an international benchmark. In October 2000 he became chairman and CEO of Tod’s Group, which is listed on the Milan Stock Exchange and is currently a global player in the high-end luxury fashion sector, with the Tod’s, Hogan, Fay and Roger Vivier brands. Together with his brother Andrea, he’s a shareholder in Unicredit, RCS, Sak’s, Piaggio, LVMH, Cinecittà, Fondo Charme and ACF Fiorentina football club. He’s been on the boards of directors of leading companies, including Ferrari, RCS and Assicurazioni Generali. Diego Della Valle is a member of the support committee of the Umberto Veronesi Foundation and president of the non-profit Della Valle Foundation. In 1996 he was awarded the Order of Merit for Labour and in 2000 he received an honorary degree in economics and business from Ancona University. During his brilliant career as an entrepreneur, Diego Della Valle has helped to spread Made in Italy’s values of quality and culture around the world.

GIANNI ZONIN – Chairman of Casa Vinicola Zonin and Banca Popolare di Vicenza

Gianni Zonin is one of the leading entrepreneurs in Italy’s wine-producing sector. He has a diploma in oenology and a law degree, and from a very young age helped out with the family firm, which has made wine for seven generations and maintained close ties with the local area and its traditions. When Casa Vinicola Zonin became a public limited company in 1967 he was named as its chairman at only 29 years of age, becoming a driver of steady and rapid corporate growth. Ten large estates were soon acquired in Italy’s seven most prestigious regions for the production of high-quality fi ne wines, as well as the Barboursville estate in the United States. The Zonin estates currently include around 4,000 hectares of land, of which 2,000 are planted with vines. He was the first wine entrepreneur from northern Italy to acquire vineyards and estates in Sicily and in areas with a Mediterranean climate. In 1989 he was awarded the Order of Merit for Labour. Since 1996 he’s been chairman of the Banca Popolare di Vicenza. Under his leadership the bank has grown in size and structure from being a traditional bank in the Vicenza area to become a national banking group, with subsidiary banks in the main Italian macro-regions.


KHALDOON KHALIFA AL MUBARAK – Group CEO of the Mubadala Development Company and Chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority

Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Khaldoon is Chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority of the Government of Abu Dhabi. This specialized government agency is mandated to provide strategic policy advice to the Chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Executive Council, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. Khaldoon is also Group CEO and Managing Director of the Mubadala Development Company, a public joint stock company owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi. With a domestic and international outlook, Mubadala develops projects, creates new businesses, and invests in existing enterprises to generate financial returns and sustainable benefits for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Through the sheer breadth of its operations, Mubadala both contributes to and is a reflection of the rapid diversification of the Abu Dhabi economy. In addition, Khaldoon is Chairman of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), as well as, Abu Dhabi Media Zone. He holds a degree in Economics and Finance from Tufts University, Boston. In 2007, Khaldoon was made a Commander of the Star of the Order of the Italian Solidarity for his contribution to the international reputation of Italy and its economic relationship with the UAE.


AMPLIFON GROUP – Chairman Susan Carol Holland, CEO Franco Moscetti

The Amplifon Group is a worldwide leader in the distribution and fitting of customized hearing solutions, as well as an international benchmark in audiology. The Group is recognised for the excellence of its products and services, stemming from its innovative and technological expertise, constant investment in R&D, far-reaching distribution network and the special attention given to customers’ requirements via a combination of medical and retail skills. Founded in Milan in 1950, in the 1990s Amplifon launched a forward-looking internationalisation process that has enabled the company to develop and consolidate its leadership in the major European, North American and Asia- Pacific markets. Listed on the Stock Exchange since 2001 and present in 20 countries, the Amplifon Group has a 9% world market share, a network of 3,200 retail outlets, a network of 1,700 affiliated shops, 2,500 service centres and a workforce numbering almost 11,000. In future years the group will continue to consolidate its leadership through organic growth and further acquisitions. With professionalism and commitment, Amplifon will continue to pursue its important mission: giving back the complete functioning and joy of hearing living sounds to people who require this service, guaranteeing them full satisfaction in any hearing situation.

DOMPÉ FARMACEUTICI S.P.A. – Chairman Sergio Dompé

Founded in 1940, Dompé is a renowned Italian pharmaceutical company. The Group focuses its strategic approach on developing innovative therapeutic solutions for rare diseases in areas with specific medical needs, such as ophthalmology, diabetology, transplants and oncology. It pursues this objective by promoting and playing an active role in a network of excellence covering all areas of the pharmaceutical supply chain, including R&D, manufacturing and marketing. Clinical studies on its own molecules are carried out in collaboration with an international research network involving the participation of 65 highly specialised centres in Europe, the United States and Canada. Dompé also supports companies proven to be particularly dynamic on the therapeutic innovation front. In 2009 it joined Philogen, a company specialised in biopharmaceutical products for the treatment of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and certain ophthalmic diseases. In 2012 it acquired Anabasis, a biotech firm that develops innovative rhNGF-based drugs. In the same year the company became the major shareholder of AAA – Advanced Accelerator Applications – a leading company in the field of molecular medicine. Dompé has always strived with skill and courage to turn its eff orts into innovative solutions to improve human health.

KERAKOLL SPA – CEO Gian Luca Sghedoni

Led by Gian Luca Sghedoni with an innovative vision combining business and corporate social responsibility, Kerakoll is the only company in the world that offers a GreenBuilding solution aimed at designing and building comfortable and environmental-friendly homes. GreenBuilding is a new construction method Kerakoll has successfully promoted around the world based on innovative studies regarding the biomedical field, materials technology and environmental impact that are carried out at the futuristic Kerakoll GreenLab, the world’s most advanced construction sector research centre. Indeed, Kerakoll has always allocated its best resources, equivalent to 5.4% of annual turnover, to green research. The group employs 1,350 people, with an average age of 35, and operates via 12 operating companies and 10 manufacturing plants. Kerakoll has been the technical supplier for important architectural projects, including: the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, the Innova Design Center in Houston, the World Trade Center in Manama, the Allianz Arena in Munich, the Maxxi Museum in Rome, New Delhi International Airport, the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing, the Coliseum in Rome, the Verona Arena, the Pitti Palace in Florence and the Palace of Venaria.

MOSSI GHISOLFI – Chairman Vittorio Ghisolfi

The Mossi Ghisolfi Group, which was founded in 1953 by Vittorio Ghisolfi, is an Italian multinational operating in the chemicals sector and based in Tortona in Piedmont. With an annual turnover of US$3 billion, a workforce of 2,300 and more than 150 researchers, it ranks as Italy’s second chemicals company and is also present in the USA, Mexico, Brazil, China and India. The group’s activities break down into the following areas of business: PET – raw materials and engineering relating to plants for these products. This area includes Chemtex and other subsidiaries of M&G Chemicals, which operate in the Americas and Asia. Chemtex specialises in the design and construction of plants for the production of chemical compounds. The second area is biofuels, which are chemical products derived from non-food biomass and engineering relating to these plants. Biochemtex, Beta Renewables, Biochemtex Agro and IBP operate in this area. Operations regarding renewables are primarily carried out in Italy. The other areas are polyester fibre, a business that operates exclusively in Brazil, and Polimeri Italia, regarding PET resin production exclusively for the European market, and biodegradable polymers, with a plant located in Patrica (Frosinone), Italy.


NISO BIOMED SRL – Chairman Paul Muller

NISO Biomed is a biomedical company from Turin. NISO Biomed’s mission is to develop and promote diagnostic devices in the fields of gastroenterology and cancer prevention, using innovative technologies that enable reduction or elimination of invasive procedures, diagnostic improvement thanks to a multi-parameter approach, simplification of healthcare procedures (operational and organisational), and substantial cost savings. The first product released is the EndoFaster 21-42, a device that enhances endoscopy for real-time diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori and non-invasive identification of stomach cancer risk factors. The device is connected to the endoscope and enhances its functions, performing two gastric juice analyses during gastroscopy in only a few seconds. From the outset, NISO Biomed has targeted the international market, entering markets that recognise EU labelling. It has installed products in Italy and the UK and activated distributors in Spain, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Israel. The company has also entered into negotiations with local distributors in India, and made initial contacts with Japanese and US companies to carry out joint ventures.

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