DEFINITION of 'Umberto Agnelli'

Umberto Agnelli is a former chairman and CEO of Italian automaker Fiat and was one of the wealthiest men in Italy. Fiat, which stands for "Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino," means Italian Automobile Factory of Turin. The company, founded in 1899, had long been the Agnelli family business, and Umberto Agnelli's death, which came shortly after his older brother's death, marked the first time the company's board did not have a senior Agnelli among its members.

BREAKING DOWN 'Umberto Agnelli'

Umberto Agnelli was born in 1934 in Lausanne, Switzerland to the princess of San Faustino, Virginia Bourbon del Monte, and her husband, Edoardo Agnelli. Agnelli lost his father to a plane crash when he was a year old and his mother in a car accident when he was 11. After graduating with a law degree from Turin University in 1959, he ran a small insurance company that initially worked only with Fiat but became one of the largest insurers in Italy under his guidance.

Umberto Agnelli Denied Chairmanship

We worked for Fiat in its French scooter division before serving as a Christian Democrat Senator for three years, then returning to Fiat. He was denied the chairmanship of the company by his older brother, Gianinni, whose goal was to put Umberto's son, Giovanni, in the position instead. It was only after the tragic death of his son at age 33 that was he even considered for the role.

During Agnelli's short term as chairman of Fiat (a post he only attained in 2003, the year before his death) he began to turn the then-failing company around. Fiat is the largest automobile manufacturer in Italy and one of the largest in the world, with about half of the company's operations located abroad.

In addition to business, Agnelli was passionate about football. He spent time as the chairman of the Juventus football team and served as president of the Italian Football Association. He was honored for his dedication to the game by being inducted posthumously into the Italian Football Hall of fame in 2015.

Agnelli had two other sons with his first wife, but they died shortly after birth. He and his second wife had two more children, a girl, Anna, and a boy, Andrea, who shared his father's love of football. Agnelli died in 2004 at age 69 from lung cancer. At the time of his death, he was named the 68th wealthiest man in the world, with an estimated worth of $5.5 billion.

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