John Jacob Philip Elkann
(born April 1
), often known as “Jaki”, is an Italian industrialist
, grandson of the late Gianni Agnelli
, and heir to the automaker Fiat
, which also owns the Alfa Romeo
, and Lancia
marques. Currently he is vice chairman of Fiat and chairman of the Agnelli Group investment company IFIL
, one of Italy's largest companies and chairman of IFI.
John Elkann was born in New York
as the first son of Margherita Agnelli de Pahlen
, a painter and a poet and her first husband, Alain Elkann
, a French-Italian journalist and writer. His parents divorced in 1981. He has a brother Lapo
and a sister, Ginevra
, as well as five half siblings from his mother’s second marriage to Serge Graf von der Pahlen.
He attended primary school in New York; then his family then moved to Paris, where he earned a scientific secondary-school diploma at the Victor Duruy Lycée in 1994. In the same year he moved to Italy, to attend The Polytechnic University of Turin, graduating with a degree in industrial engineering in 2000.
In 1997 Giovanni Alberto, the son of Gianni Agnelli’s younger brother, Umberto
, died of a rare form of stomach cancer at age 33 while he was being groomed by his uncle to head the Fiat Group. Elkann was selected to replace him as heir and in the same year, aged 22, he was appointed to the Fiat board.
While continuing with his "MSc degree in business engineering and industrial management" in Turin, Elkann gained work experience, incognito, in various of the company’s holdings: including a headlight plant in Birmingham, England, and a production line in Kraków, Poland. After graduating he went to New York to join General Electric’s Corporate Audit Staff program.
The deaths of his grandfather Gianni Agnelli and his great-uncle Umberto Agnelli in 2004 propelled Elkann into the vice chairmanship of the Fiat board, under new chairman Luca di Montezemolo, and into the vice chairmanship of the umbrella family holding company Giovanni Agnelli & C. (which controls the Agnelli family's greater than 30 percent stake in Fiat), under Gianluigi Gabetti, honorary chairman of IFIL.
In 2003 he joined IFIL and worked on the relaunch plan of Fiat Group, of which he became Vice Chairman in 2004 (board member since December 1997). He is also Chairman of Editrice La Stampa and Itedi, Board member of RCS Mediagroup and Banca Leonardo. John Elkann is an active member of his community, serving as Vice Chairman of: the Italian Aspen Institute; the Italy-China Foundation; the Giovanni Agnelli Foundation.
Marriage & Children
On September 4
Elkann married Lavinia Borromeo
on Isola Madre
, one of the Borromean Islands
of Lake Maggiore
; the reception, which featured a 5m long chocolate cake depicting dozens of chocolate Cinquecentos
and a guest list including Henry Kissinger
, Silvio Berlusconi
and Elle McPherson
, was held on nearby Isola Bella
. Their first child, a boy named Leone (Italian for "lion
"), was born on August 27
. On November 12
Mrs. Elkann gave birth to their second boy, Oceano (Italian