In 1872 Giovanni Battista Pirelli, a 24 year old engineer, created in Milan after his name the Italian rubber maker which would have become a global tire brand: Pirelli & C, the first ever Italian company to start production in the industry. Since the very beginning its activity ranged from civil building to power and telecommunication cables. It started go international early in XX century: in 1908 the representative of Pirelli in the U.S. invented the tire logo with the long P, which still identifies the company worldwide.
During the same very years the first sport awards arrived. In 1907 the Italian motor race team, wearing Pirelli tires and led by Prince Scipione Borghese, won the Paris-Beijing and paved the way to a set of international victories. In 1922 Pirelli went public in the Milan stock exchange and in 1929 it was listed at the New York Stock Exchange, becoming the first ever Italian company to land on the floor of Wall Street.
In 1992 Marco Tronchetti Provera took the driver’s seat and focused on growing internationally while investing hugely into R&D. In August 2011 Tronchetti took over Telecom Italia and put it under Pirelli in the group’s command chain, just to sell it less than six years later to a Spanish-Italian grouping including Telefonica, Madiobanca, Generali and Intesa. In 2005 it sold its cable unit, Pirelli Cavi e Sistemi, to Goldman Sachs, which re-branded the company as Prysmian Cables & Systems and four years later listed it on the stock market while selling most of its stake, making of Prysmian one of the largest public companies in Italy.
Nowadays Pirelli ranks fifth in the tire industry league table with a capacity of some 70 million tires produced yearly, covering more than 160 countries, employing 36,000 people in 22 plants in 13 different countries. The group aims at gaining the global leadership in the top segment of the market, the so-called Premium segment, by year 2015. In June 2013 Tronchetti Provera told Italy’s Il Corriere della Sera that he was preparing the succession process at the company in order to complete its transformation into a full public company with a global shareholding structure. A first step toward this goal was the restructuring of the group’s holding company, Camfin, as Tronchetti ended the partnership with the Malacalza family and is planning to delist it from the stock market.