All our conference rooms have been dedicated to those personalities who we believe epitomise and represent ‘Vision’ and ‘Mission’ in the best conceivable way. Because they provide us and the Group the example during all our daily activities.
Born on the 13th of April 1519 in Florence, she became one of the more influential women in history, also becoming Queen of France after marrying Henry II in 1547. There is no shortage of stories about her, and her influence in French politics was rather noteworthy. She was also mother to 3 children, having been known as “Queen Mother”. Catherine de’ Medici is tied to religious wars which were fought in France during her rule.
She has been selected because…It’s thanks to her that during the 1500s, French aristocrats started using forks at the table – as well as for the birth of French cuisine from Tuscan chefs in France. And if that wasn’t enough, she is also accepted as the person who introduced the use of corsets by court ladies. Catherine was also many other things. In fact, she campaigned up to her last days in search of peace between catholics and protestants. She has always been known as the Queen of good manners.
Eleanor of Toledo, wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici and mother of Grand Dukes Francesco and Ferdinando, enjoyed a very happy marriage of true love – more unique than rare at the time – such that she bore 11 children. Their marital union enhanced, through art, the value of the city of Florence.
She has been selected because…Eleanor of Toledo was the first woman consort at Palazzo Vecchio. She furthermore financed the construction of Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens, not to mention the Uffizi and Vasari Corridor.
Among the pioneers of Lean Thinking, Shiego Shingo can boast for having written the highly-prized “A Study of the Toyota Production System”, which is the basis of the Lean revolution. Shingo’s idea of efficient organisation hinges on strategic management decisions aimed at optimising production processes. The driving force behind everything, according to Shiego Shingo, is dissatisfaction.
He has been selected because…He wrote the essentials for the Lean revolution, which inspires us all and, to which we all refer.
Born in 1737 in Bologna, Luigi Galvani is recognised as the pioneer of galvanism, having discovered electrical fluid in 1791. Following the invention of the electric battery, Alessandro Volta in 1800 began the process of that which has evolved into we know today as galvanic technology.
He has been selected because…With the discovery of electrophysiology, he pioneered the galvanic process.
Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian navigator, explorer and cartographer – and a citizen of the Florentine Republic prior to and then subject to the Crown of Castile from April 1505. He was amongst the first New World explorers, such that his name remained that given to America by German cartographers Martin Waldseemüller (c. 1470 – 16 March 1520) and Matthias Ringmann (1482 – 1511).
He has been selected because…He was among the first New World explorers to the extent that it is from him that the Americas derive their name.
He was as singular as he was noble: palaeontologist, geologist, scientist, explorer, mountain climber and pioneer. It was Desio who led the first expedition to scale the fearsome summit of K2.
He has been selected because…He led the first successful ascent of K2.
He was a British naturalist, biologist and geologist. Darwin was celebrated for having formulated the theory of evolution that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual's ability to compete, survive, and reproduce.
He has been selected because…It was he who formulated the theory of biological evolution.
He was an Italian navigator and explorer, citizen of the Republic of Genoa prior to and then subject to the Crown of Castile. He was thereafter famous for his voyages which would result in the colonisation of the Americas.
He has been selected because…It was he who discovered America.
He was an Italian navigator and explorer of the Republic of Venice in service of Spain and England. Cabot was noted for having continued Columbus’ work and undertook a series of voyages of discovery north-westwards, particularly that which, on 24 August 1497, led to the discovery of territory which today is known as Canada.
He has been selected because…He pursued the achievements of Christopher Columbus, leading to the discovery of Canada.
Italian merchant, explorer and navigator who has historically been named “Milione”, literally meaning ‘Million’. As unanimously held by historians, the compendium of his feats are amongst the most significant and valuable of the Middle Ages, even before discovering America and pursuinb subsequent expeditions. His exploits provided a clear picture of the East's geography and ethnic customs, and was the first Western record of porcelain, coal, gunpowder, paper money, as well as some Asian plants and exotic animals.
He has been selected because…Courtesy of his various voyages, Million has chartered a compendium of the most important and valuable achievements of the Middle Ages, accomplishments with legacies which are relevant even today.
The name Teseo Tesei is etched in history, not only because of the courage demonstrated in the Spanish Civil War and in recovery operations in the submarine Iride in Lybia, but mostly for the invention of a human torpedo Siluro a lenta corsa, which enabled Italy to record significant naval victories throughout the Mediterranean.
He has been selected because…He invented Siluro a lenta corsa which gave Italy a number of important naval victories throughout the Mediterranean, ultimately sacrificing his own life in defeating British enemy naval lines.
Elsa Schiaparelli was an Italian fashion designer. Along with Coco Chanel, her greatest rival, she is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in fashion at the beginning of the twentieth century and is known for having introduced the use of ‘shocking pink’. She collaborated with, among others, Salvador Dalí, Alberto Giacometti and Leonor Fini.
She has been selected because…She introduced shocking pink and popularised the zip in the fashion world. As a forward-thinker and experimenter, she completely upended established conventional ideas about fashion.
In May of 1974, two polishing workers in the Florence high-fashion industry, Dino Franco Gualdani and Franco Rosadini, opened LEM in Valdarno, a finishing company with a vision towards the world of electroplating. In fact, looking at what was already contained in the name: ‘Lavorazione Elettrogalvanica Metalli’ (LEM), which, translated literally – denotes the ‘processing of electroplated metals’, one could infer what the company yearned to become.