A dialogue with Carlo Pontecorvo

9 September 2016

“You need to have passion, courage and determination to not give up on the first obstacle you find.” With these words Carlo Pontecorvo, President and CEO of Ferrarelle S.p.A, addressed our students of the Executive Programs on the start of the new academic year.


You have started your career as a doctor. What have you taken from this experience to the business world?

Coming from the scientific world has helped me to know how to dialogue with our collaborators, employees and the market in general. Being a doctor not only means to cure but also to understand what does the person you are helping is feeling. I have taken with me the scientific rigor that I have then used in organizational business models.


Naples is a beautiful and complex city. How much does it affects the context in which a company is set?

It is necessary to have an objective, an idea and see it through regardless of the context. I will give you one recent example on how I live the entrepreneurial life within a complex context. Three years ago I became the president for the Regional Bank for Development (Banca Regionale di Sviluppo). It was a credit institution in the middle of a very complicated financial situation.  Regardless of working on a deficit and several legal issues, on August 23rd it was recapitalized, becoming a joint stock company. Many jobs were saved as well as the Neapolitan entrepreneurial image. This is why I believe it is key not to consider too much the context, also because, as far as I am concerned, the southern regions will always be Italy, aside from of the social, economical and artistic differences with the rest of the country. No territory should be considered “province” when you are talking about business.


You are visiting BBS to meet our students. What message would you like to pass on?

Study, prepare yourselves but give priority to the capacity to deal with the world. The dialogue and the curiosity are fundamental for acquiring knowledge. For me, is was decisive to measure myself with other entrepreneurs by seeing directly what they were doing, where they were doing it, and how they were doing it. I consider the complexity of human relations and the social capital are big teachers of life. You need to have passion, courage and determination to not give up on the first obstacle you find. Daily, I do a parallelism between me and those of my family that preceded me in entrepreneurship, and I often remind myself about their concerns in relation to the current political and economic situation. This is what gives me strength because it makes me wonder about how each period in history has had its difficulties, and even if the situations can change an element of crisis remains. As I said before, we cannot hide behind the excuse of a context. We work to develop our ideas the best way.


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