At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Massimo Moratti - business tycoon

Billionaire chairman oversaw golden era at Internazionale


Massimo Moratti followed his father, Angelo, in becoming chairman of Internazionale of Milan
Massimo Moratti followed his father, Angelo, in
becoming chairman of Internazionale of Milan
The billionaire tycoon and former chairman of the Internazionale football club, Massimo Moratti, was born on this day in 1945 in Bosco Chiesanuova, a small town in the Veneto about 20km (12 miles) north of Verona.

His primary business, the energy provider Saras, of which he is chief executive, owns about 15 per cent of Italy’s oil refining capacity, mainly through the Sarroch refinery on Sardinia, which has a capacity of about 300,000 barrels per day.

Moratti is estimated to have net wealth of about €1.28 billion ($1.4 billion) yet is said to have spent close to €1.5 billion of his personal fortune on buying players during his chairmanship of Inter, which lasted from 1995 until 2013 and encompassed a period of unprecedented success.

Between 2005 and 2011 Inter won the Serie A title five times, the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana four times each, the Champions League once and the FIFA World Club cup once.

The five Scudetti came in consecutive seasons from 2006 to 2010, equalling the league record.

The only comparable period was the 1960s, when Massimo's father, Angelo, was chairman and Inter won three Scudetti and the European Cup, forerunner of the Champions League, twice, with the team known as Grande Inter – ‘the great Inter’.

Moratti is a billionaire businessman who made his fortune from the family's energy company, Saras
Moratti is a billionaire businessman who made his fortune
from the family's energy company, Saras
Moratti would go to any lengths to sign the best players. His most famous purchase was the Brazilian striker Ronaldo – then considered the best player in the world – from Barcelona in the summer of 1997, but two years later he paid a then world-record €48 million for Lazio striker Christian Vieri.

Other superstars who wore the famous blue and black stripes in his time included Roberto Carlos, Hernán Crespo, Roberto Baggio, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Luís Figo and Patrick Vieira.

Yet he was notorious for hiring and firing coaches. In his time in office there were 15 changes of coach. Even during the years of success, he ditched Roberto Mancini for José Mourinho.

Mancini won three consecutive Serie A titles, the Coppa Italia twice and the Supercoppa Italiana twice, yet failed to win in Europe, which is where Moratti found him wanting.

Moratti was vindicated when, under Mourinho, Inter won the Champions League in 2010.  In fact, the Portuguese coach led the team to an unprecedented treble that season, winning Serie A and the Coppa Italia as well.

The fourth son of industrialist Angelo, who founded Saras, Moratti was born in the family villa in Bosco Chiesanuova. He graduated from Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli with a master's degree in political science.

On his father's death in 1981, he inherited his shares in the Saras Group, whose main business is the refining of petroleum.

Moratti is also the owner of Sarlux, based in Cagliari, which focuses on the production of electricity from waste oil. He has another company involved in generating electricity from alternative sources such as wind energy.

Members of the Inter team that won the Scudetto five times between 2006 and 2011
Members of the Inter team that won the Scudetto five
times between 2006 and 2011
In fact, he is married to the environmental activist Emilia Moratti (née Bossi), with whom he has have five children. Moratti is a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador.

As Inter chairman he had a long-time rivalry with SilvioBerlusconi, the owner of AC Milan, which even extended to him supporting the left-wing candidate Giuliano Pisapia in a bid to oust his sister-in-law, Letizia, as Mayor of Milan.

Letizia had served in Berlusconi’s Forza Italia government as Minister of Education between 2001 and 2006 and was elected Mayor of Milan in 2006 under the flag of another of Berlusconi’s parties, the centre-right alliance Casa della Libertà (House of Freedoms).

In May 2011, however, Moratti put his weight behind the former communist Pisapia, who emerged as a surprise winner.

Moratti scaled back his interest in Internazionale in November 2013, when International Sports Capital took control of 70 per cent of the club. Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir, a part-owner of that company, was elected chairman, with Moratti in the role of honorary chairman.

In June 2016, he sold the remainder of his stake in the club to Thohir's Nusantara Sports Ventures HK Limited for €60 million. Thohir then resold those shares to Zhang Jindong's Suning Holdings Group.

The family connection remained through Moratti's wife, Emilia, who had a place on the club’s advisory board, but Massimo Moratti himself ceased to be involved.

The Piazza Chiesa in Bosco Chiesanuova
The Piazza Chiesa in Bosco Chiesanuova
Travel tip:

Bosco Chiesanuova, part of a picturesque area known as Lessinia, offers visitors a range of outdoor activities from summertime nature walks and horse riding to skiing and ince skating in the winter months. The town’s beautiful squares are notable for balconies overflowing with geraniums and roof-tops groaning under the weight of snow, depending on the season. In the attractive Piazza Chiesa is the beautiful church of San Benedetto and San Tommaso Apostolo.

Pula in Sardinia has many Roman ruins such as this arch in the centre of the town
Pula in Sardinia has many Roman ruins such as this arch
in the centre of the town
Travel tip:

The Sarroch refinery in Sardinia is close to Pula, about 25km (15 miles) south of Cagliari, which is renowned as ‘the prettiest town in southern Sardinia’, famous for relaxing beaches and a spectacular coastline, but also for its history.  The beach at nearby Nora has a Roman amphitheatre right by the sea, which stages concerts during the summer. Another beach, at Porto d’Agumo, is guarded by two Spanish watchtowers. The town fans out from a beautiful central piazza full of interesting restaurants, gelateria and bars.


More reading:


Internazionale - birth of a football superpower

How Roberto Mancini coached Inter to a record three consecutive Serie A titles

Luigi Riva - the prolific striker who slipped through Inter's net

Also on this day:


1974: The birth of singer-songwriter Laura Pausini


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