Alessandro Benetton is the chairman of Benetton Group S.p.A. and member of the board of Edizione Srl, the holding company of the Benetton family fund and Autogrill. “Benetton was founded a year after I was born, so you could say we are peers, that we grew up together, even if along independent and parallel paths.”
He is also chairman and founder of 21 Investimenti S.p.A., a merchant bank he established in 1992 following his training at Goldman Sachs in London as a mergers and acquisitions analyst.
Benetton described founding 21 Investimenti S.p.A., as “my first, and most important, business experience. Here I learned the beauty of being an entrepreneur: it is a lifestyle choice, a way of affirming one’s freedom, of remaining true to oneself.” Today, the 21 Group constitutes a system of private equity funds with 1.2 billion euros of managed assets and operations focused particularly in France and Italy.
Although Mr Benetton does not court publicity like many other scions of Italian fashion dynasties, he is not opposed to putting himself into the family brand. In April 2013 he released ‘AB. A Playlife Story,’ a coffee table book featuring his personal style, his home life and his passions, penned and released to coincide with the opening of the Benetton-owned brand Playlife’s refurbished Rome store.
“I went home and pulled from my closet those objects that had stories to tell and that were part of me. I would never have thought that I would have written a book at 49, but I felt it was a way to help bring energy to the company, to show that things happen when you take action.” Proceeds from the sale went to the Unhate Foundation.
The entrepreneur has an undergraduate degree from Boston University and an MBA from Harvard and sits on the boards of several companies including private equity firm 21 Invest, and family-controlled holdings company Edizione. He is married to former skiing champion Deborah Compagnoni and the couple has three children together.