It is with profound sorrow that the Lavazza Group announces that
Cavaliere del Lavoro Emilio Lavazza passed away yesterday.
A member of the family’s third generation, he was an extraordinary captain of industry who devoted 50 years of exemplary leadership to the company.
Born in Turin in 1932, he joined the family business — founded in 1895 by his grandfather Luigi — in 1955. When his father Giuseppe died in 1971,
Emilio was appointed CEO of the company.
Following the death of his uncle Pericle in 1979, he became company
President, a position he held until 2008.
With Emilio at the helm, the Group started to expand throughout Europe and around the world. Emilio firmly believed in taking on this business
challenge, and today the company has 8 foreign subsidiaries and is present
with its brand in more than 90 countries. Nevertheless, it has never lost its
authentic Italian identity and has maintained its leadership on the Italian
The value of his business commitment was publicly acknowledged in 1991 when he was decorated Cavaliere del Lavoro della Repubblica, an honour conferred by the Italian Republic, and again in 1993 when he received anhonorary degree in Business and Economics from the University of Turin.
In his long career he held important positions in the top industrial and trade associations.
Emilio showed great entrepreneurial insight when he decided to focus on communications and invest in it. Thanks to this strategy, the company
created extremely successful campaigns that have become an unforgettable part of the history of Italian advertising.
He became Honorary President in June 2008 and under his leadership Lavazza developed into a successful and world-renowned group that is now a leading name on the coffee market.
He was a man of great humanity and warmth known to everyone in the company simply as Signor Emilio, because he felt that establishing a rapport with people was far more important than the positions and titles he had earned throughout his lifetime.
A model of keen sensitivity who was aware that the success of a company depends on the relationship it establishes with its employees, Emilio has passed a great ethical and human legacy on to his family and his company.
Lavazza became a global brand under Emilio Lavazza's leadership
Emilio Lavazza, the man who made his family name synonymous with coffee, has died at the age of 78.
Mr Lavazza presided over the international expansion at the Italian coffee
giant, where he spent close to 40 years at the helm.
He also expanded the firm in coffee-obsessed Italy, where Lavazza now has almost half of the retail market.
Founded by Emilio Lavazza'a grandfather, it is also the world's sixth
biggest coffee roaster.
A private personality
"He had two sides. He was not a public person - [people from Turin] are quite private people. But it was Mr Emilio that took this company to international markets," a Lavazza spokesperson told the BBC.
A very private man, Mr Lavazza gave only one interview during his time at the helm - to an Italian newspaper some 15 years ago - the spokesperson said.
Mr Lavazza's grandfather Luigi founded the family business in 1895 and when his father Luigi died in 1971, Emilio was appointed chief executive.
He then became president of the company in 1979 - a position he held until being made honorary president in 2008.
He was the main architect behind his company's television-led marketing campaign, and expanded the Turin-based company's operations into foreign markets.
The company became synonymous with the Italian espresso under Mr Lavazza.
He commenced the international expansion in earnest soon after becoming president, opening a French office in 1982.
Now Lavazza holds 48% of the Italian retail coffee market and has
operations in countries as diverse as Brazil and India.
It has forecast sales of more than 1.1bn euros (£1bn) in 2009.