MILAN — John Elkann and Renato Ancorotti were among the 25 entrepreneurs to be named “Cavaliere del Lavoro,” or “Knight of Labour,” on Monday. This is one of the highest recognitions bestowed by the president of the Italian Republic, who is currently Sergio Mattarella.
Grandson of the late legendary Gianni Agnelli, Elkann is the chairman and chief executive officer of Exor, one of Europe’s largest diversified holding companies. It owns stakes in firms including Stellantis, the company born from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and French automotive group PSA; Ferrari, where Elkann is president and currently also interim CEO, and football team Juventus F.C.
As reported, earlier this year, the Agnelli family holding also invested 541 million euros to become a 24 percent shareholder in Christian Louboutin. The deal followed Exor’s investment at the end of 2020 in Chinese luxury brand Shang Xia to become the company’s majority shareholder alongside Hermès International and founder Jiang Qiong Er.
Exor also owns stakes in The Economist newspaper in London, and media group GEDI Gruppo Editoriale, which includes Italian newspapers La Repubblica and La Stampa, il Secolo XIX and other local newspapers, several magazines including L’Espresso and National Geographic Italia, the local edition of the Huffington Post and three national radio stations.
Born in Crema in 1956, Ancorotti is the founder and president of Ancorotti Cosmetics, which the entrepreneur established with his daughter Enrica in 2009. The cosmetics manufacturer began specializing in high-tech mascara, soon expanding to other makeup and skin care products developed for international beauty labels. Since 2018, Ancorotti has served as president of Cosmetica Italia, the Italian association of cosmetics companies.
Established in 1901 by King Vittorio Emanuele III, the “Cavalieri del Lavoro,” recognizes Italian entrepreneurs who have distinguished themselves in different sectors of the economy and contribute to social development, employment, technology and the growth of “Made in Italy.”
In addition to this title, on Monday Mattarella also bestowed a special honor on ballet star Roberto Bolle, naming him “Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.”
Bolle shared the news on his personal Instagram account, posting pictures with Mattarella and stories in which he wrote that “it’s a great privilege, as well as an honor, to serve and represent at my best my beloved country.”
Others in the fashion industry who have been previously appointed Cavalieri del Lavoro include: Remo Ruffini, chairman and CEO of Moncler; Yoox Net-a-porter chairman Federico Marchetti; Gildo Zegna, CEO of the Ermenegildo Zegna Group; Rosita Missoni; Fabrizio Freda, CEO of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.; Claudio Marenzi president and CEO of Herno; Roberto Colombo, president of Lanificio Luigi Colombo, a producer of cashmere and high-quality fibers, and Alberto Barberis Canonico, CEO of the Italian high-end woolen mill Vitale Barberis Canonico, established in 1936 on the outskirts of Biella, among others.