There were days to go to the end of 2020, a year that, in his own words, ended much better than it had started. Much still had to be planned for 2021, and not just for the rebuilding of the ravages that the pandemic had wrought. Tick the clock for Stellantis’ grand debut, the $ 52 billion mega-merger between FCA Automobiles (Fiat-Chrysler) and the PSA Group (Peugeot Citron). With the global chair distribution defined a while ago, a period of six months started to finish accommodating the chips in each of the regions.
“If I see myself in Stellantis? Turning 73 next year, at least, I’m going to love going into it. After, it will be another generation that will have to carry it forward“, he recognized, to the surprise of his interlocutor.
The thing is, bisnieto de Giovanni Agnelli, The senator, founder of Fiat, Cristiano Santiago Argentino Rattazzi -as his full name- was the promoter of the direct return of the Italian carmaker to the country. Years later, the Driving force behind the reopening of the Ferreyra plant, closed during the 2002 crisis. So, very few – to say no one – conceive of it as disconnected from the company. However, that will be reality.
This Wednesday, Stellantis reported that, As of July 1, Rattazzi will leave the presidency of the FCA companies in Argentina. He added that, thus, close a cycle started in 1970, when the entrepreneur entered Fiat Concord and that, prior to his definitive return to Argentina, in 1981, he had stopovers in Brazil, Venezuela Y France. Replace it Martn Zuppi, who until now was director of operations of Fiat, Jeep and RAM in the country.
Rattazzi was born in Buenos Aires, on September 25, 1948. He was the third child, the first boy, of the six who would have the Conde Urbano Rattazzi, piamonts aristocrat, and Susanna Agnelli, granddaughter of the founder of the Italian Automobile Factory Turin.
Before moving to Italy, at age 9, Rattazzi spent his childhood between the family house in Belgrano and the Los Cardos ranch, in Balcarce, where he and his older sisters –Ilaria and the Samaritan– Hacan 2 kilometers on horseback from the town to the rural school where they had begun to study.
In the Instituto Massimo, a Jesuit college in Rome, shared classrooms with Mario Draghi, current Italian Prime Minister. Also, he met who would be his brother in life, Luca Cordero di Montzemolo. Luca, president of the organizing committee of the World Cup Italy ’90 and several times at the executive head of Ferrari, was a companion of adventures on the slopes –he joined the official Fiat rally team– and out of them.
Formed, then, in the Francesco Morosini Naval Military School, from Venice, Rattazzi studied economics at Luigi Bocconi University, Milan. Return to Argentina in September 1969; In December, he started working in the commercial division of Fiat Concord in the country.
Fantastic of the irons and speed, he began to stand out in motorsport. In the Return of the Apple 1971 -one of the most demanding tests on the local rally circuit-, dazzled by his audacity at the wheel, which earned him winning the first two stages and abandoning after a turnaround in the third. A cable with a explicit permission de su to Gianni -already then, the largest industrialist in Italy– so that local executives, fearful of some accident, they will let him participate.
In 1973, a year after the kidnapping and murder of Oberdan Sallustro, CEO of Fiat Concord in the country, at the hands of the People’s Revolutionary Army (ERP), Rattazzi emigrated to Harvard, to do his MBA. He finished it in 1975. It was also a momentous decision, the kind that is usually made with a steering wheel at 200 kilometers per hour. Going to graduate school – and a career in business – meant burying his dream of a runner. I was weighing a proposal to join the Lancia team, prelude to his final dream: Formula One.
After the MBA, his executive footprint at Fiat continued through Brazil, Venezuela and France. I already had three children –Alexia, Urbano and Manuela– Y I wanted to return definitively to Argentina. Run 1981. Fiat no longer had its automotive business, in the hands of Franco Macri. Yes, others. Like construction. Rattazzi settled in Impregilo, where his family was a minority shareholder. They tempted him with “a great opportunity”, as they offered him: the construction of Yacyret, a project in charge of Impresit Sideco, joint venture between the Italian group and Socma.
Rattazzi always valued his 15 years at Impregilo. “Ah, it mattered little that it was an Agnelli“He explained. Like everyone else in his family, he assumed the surname with responsibility.” Remember that you are an Agnelli “, a phrase that the British governess Miss Parker repeats to the grandchildren of the senator and that was marked by fire, also, in their descendants. “I must have a perfect education to make me forgive ‘that I am from the family. And I needed to be flawless so they wouldn’t say that I got there because I was an Agnelli“, recognized Rattazzi, in some interview.
Just as the surname was a backpack, on more than one occasion, it also meant a shield. And he knew how to use it, as he threw greatswords with his sword. Ser Agnelli gave him freedom of opinion, especially in times when the presidential lectern punished public discrepancies. Loquacious, witty, acid, in front of the microphones and recorders, the Argentine son of the Italian aristocracy said with self-confidence what many should keep silent. Or, in many cases, that the risk was assumed by someone else.
It is that, in the last quarter of a century, Rattazzi became synonymous with the automotive industry. After the Agnelli left Impregilo – and an offer for him to continue working at the company in Milan – led the direct return of Fiat to the country. Its fine tuning with Domingo Cavallo (then, Minister of Economy) and Juan Schiaretti (Secretary of Industry) materialized in the inauguration of the Ferreyra factory, Crdoba, in 1996. An investment of u $ s 600 million for the group’s most modern factory.
The crisis and the decree 670/2000, which liberalized the exchange of auto parts with Brazil, they forced to close it, a late 2001. “I wasn’t going to pay a $ 15 million fine for a stupid decree“, he justified, on the financial mismatch that the resolution of the government of the alliance.
“It hurt more than anyone. But the next day he went to work to open it“, said a former collaborator. It was only achieved in 2007. Since then, it has secured more than $ 1.2 billion in investment in new projects for the plant. The most recent, Cronos, a model manufactured in Cordoba after an outlay of u $ s 500 million, announced in February 2016, and which is currently the best-selling car in the country.
“Surely, if I was not here, there were, in these 30 years, moments in which Fiat closed the plant permanently. That is my satisfaction“, is proud in his last interview with this newspaper. Record as a peak, emotional moment, July 2019, when led the celebrations for the 100 years of Fiat in the country, in an event that was attended by the CEO of the then FCA, Michael Manley, and the heir to the empire Agnelli, his great-nephew John Elkann.
Rattazzi had a high institutional profile. He is a founding partner of the Argentine Business Association (AEA), member of the Rural Society (has a renowned dairy production), stable cast of the Unin Industrial (UIA) and presided, in three terms (2000/1, 2002/3 and 2012/13), Adefa, the camera of the automakers. Currently, he was his one of his vice presidents.
After all, an Agnelli – his uncle Gianni is one of the people who most influenced him -, He also starred in the society pages. In the business world, reaped loyalties and rivalries. Of the last, some historical ones, like the one that existed with Luis Ureta Senz Pea (PSA Peugeot Lemon) O Viktor Klima, former socialist prime minister of Austria who found a new life in the presidency of Volkswagen Argentina.
Rattazzi had, in contrast, a great relationship with the deceased Sergio Marchionne, CEO of the Risorgimento Fiat (including Chrysler acquisition). “It reminded me a lot of Gianni“It evokes him. His uncle is, next to Enzo Ferrari Y Juan Manuel Fangio, two of the people with whom he most enjoyed talking. There was a fourth: his mother, Suni. Italian Chancellor in the ’90s, died in May 2009
With politicians, meanwhile, he had affinities and clashes. The Kirchners -She and him- had him in their sights. Dismissed from acts in Olivos due to a statement, Fiat was also the frequent object of AFIP investigations or some bureaucratic obstacle that hindered its operation. Guillermo Moreno, Dbora Giorgi (signer of the famous decree), Axel Kicillofare some of the officials with whom he had public and private discussions.
With others, like Roberto Lavagna, there was cold war. Unlike, Cavallo attests to his unconditionality until the end. Rattazzi nor did he hide his sympathy for Let’s change, to the point of having been a prosecutor of that force in a school in La Matanza in the elections that consecrated President of the Nation to an old acquaintance of his, Mauricio Macri.
“For me, Fiat is my life. My interest and that of my family“, justified each of those actions. Rattazzi, says the statement of his retirement, continue to be linked to Stellantis as a member of the family that, through Exor, is the main individual shareholder of the group formed after the merger of the former FCA and PSA.
Rattazzi tambin leave the chair that, for more than 25 years, he occupied at the executive table of Adefa. Continue with your agricultural and real estate businesses and, also, helicpteros Bell, whose license he has in the country, a business to which he sees potential. With him, they go, in addition, collaborators and bodyguard historical figures, which had also become synonymous with the Fiat of the tower of Della Paolera.
“It is time, with this new company that is being born as a result of the merger of the former FCA and PSA, for the new generations to take the helm and we can continue accompanying from another space,” said Rattazzi in the statement. the end of an era.
“Do you see the boundary closer? Or think that it will never come? “, asked this diary, a few months ago.
“Because of who I am, I know it has to come“, to answer.