Vito Gamberale’s career highlights and key role models
On May 22nd, Vito Gamberale participated in the 13th Meeting on Economy, a yearly event addressed to the students from Campobasso organised by the Chambers of Commerce of Campobasso and Isernia, in cooperation with Unioncamere Molise; the meeting’s objective was to assess the present economic situation of the provinces of the Molise region.
At the beginning of his speech, the top manager explained what he believes to be the key features of a great leader: guidance by being a role model; clarity in defining and communicating targets; team development and management; unconventional thinking; the ability to recognise and anticipate change. According to Gamberale, development through innovation and the combination of corporate development with fair returns for shareholders are also key elements.
Gamberale then recalled the milestones of his wide managerial career and presented the key personalities that guided him and contributed to his professional growth.
Gamberale started his career in 1968 when – at the age of 24 – he worked as a business specialist for ANIC (Azienda Nazionale Idrogenazione Combustibili). In the following year, he joined IMI (Istituto Mobiliare Italiano), where his responsibilities included evaluating corporate investment plans and industrial development programmes to grant long-term financing to companies. During this period, Gamberale was inspired by Enrico Murri: as Gamberale recalled, even prior to the computer era, Murri had developed an effective database of all sector time and space parameters of the Italian industrial system.
Thanks to this experience, Gamberale developed discipline, rigour in method, and a profound respect towards all companies, regardless of size or sector.
During this phase of his career, the manager began to truly understand Italy’s industrial and production framework.
Thanks to the expertise he acquired in this past experience, in 1977 Gamberale could join GEPI (Società per le Gestioni e le Partecipazioni Statali), where he took on the role of head of acquisitions and privatisations and was in charge of rescuing distressed companies and reintroduce them on the market. He embraced this new phase of his career, mainly focussing on top management activities. Gamberale had a further opportunity for professional growth under the guidance of Mario Murri, whom Gamberale described as endowed with great conciseness, sense of humour, emotional detachment and fast decision-making. Murri taught him how to recover distressed industrial entities, always aiming for the best and fostering technology development.
From 1984 to 1991, Gamberale worked for the ENI Group, where he was responsible for non-core asset privatisations and had the objective to re-establish the Group’s core business in the energy sector. During this period, together with Franco Reviglio and Vittorio Mincato, Gamberale developed the skills necessary to tackle complex and critical situations. As Gamberale mentioned in his speech, he learnt clarity of thinking and rigorous methods from Reviglio and Mincato.
Gamberale’s true managerial career started in 1991, when he became SIP’s CEO. His main responsibilities included narrowing the telecommunication infrastructure gap with other European countries, especially in the mobile telephony business.
Gamberale was then appointed General Manager of Telecom Italia and, when TIM Telecom Italia was founded in 1996, he was appointed the company’s first CEO. In those years, together with Ernesto Pascale (SIP’s President, later Telecom Italia and STET’s President), Gamberale contributed to Telecom Italia’s international development fostering an impressive diffusion of mobile telephony in Italy. Gamberale admired Pascale’s audacity, his ambition to implement important projects and his “brave” supportiveness.
During the meeting held in Campobasso, Gamberale highlighted how Pascale supported and encouraged him to create TIM and his pivotal contribution in turning Telecom Italia in “the best operator for development, efficiency, profitability and international presence worldwide“.
In 2000, Vito Gamberale took a further important step in his career by joining the Italian highway company Autostrade. From 2000 to 2006, under his management (he was also CEO), the company focused on non-core asset dismissal, technological development, and enhancement of international activities. The first privatisation in the infrastructure sector was achieved in Italy in those years.
Infrastructures were crucial in Gamberale’s next professional experience. Starting from a concept developed when he was chairing Autostrade, Gamberale and a group of sponsors (including Cassa depositi e prestiti, Intesa Sanpaolo, Unicredit, bank foundations, and welfare funds) conceived a fund specialised in national infrastructure investments. The fund’s objectives included, again, bridging the competition gap with the major European countries. F2i – Fondi italiani per le infrastrutture was founded in 2007. Under Gamberale’s management as CEO (he resigned from his role last October), F2i established itself as the largest Italian private equity fund, and ranking among the major single-country investment funds worldwide. F2i’s investment strategy under Gamberale’s management included the acquisition of holdings and the aggregation of subsidiaries in business branches (gas distribution, airports, TLCs, integrated water services, renewable energy, etc.) with the objective to thereby creating national champions in each sectors with an industrial approach for the management of subsidiaries.
At the end of his speech, Vito Gamberale described his current activity as investor manager. Through a sort of personal fund (VAG), Gamberale currently invests “in selected companies with elevated growth potential“, which he then enters as President agreeing upon the company value when entering and the exit valuation criteria.
These activities include his recent investment in the PSC Group and Iterchimica and his appointment as President of both companies.