CIR – Compagnie Industriali Riunite S.p.A – is since 1976 the holding company controlling the industrial interests of Carlo de Benedetti, one of the best known italian entrepreneur abroad, and of his family. Cir control is in fact owned with a 46% stake by De Benedetti family’s Cofide. Carlo De Benedetti created CIR when he bought from the Bocca family Concerie Italiane Riunite, a Turin based tanning business, and turned it into a holding company. Nowadays Cir’s interests range from energy, to media, to car components, healthcare and some non core activities such as venture capital and private equity investments. The hart of CIR is Sorgenia, among major gas and electricity operators in Italy created in 1999 as the outcome of a deal with the utility group Verbund of Austria, while best selling newspaper La Repubblica is the jewel of the crown of the media business.
As of April 2013 Carlo De Benedetti, who is turning 79 in November 2013, completed his succession plan and handed over the reins of his group to the next generation: his son Rodolfo became chairman with Monica Mondardini as managing director. The succession process was started in January 2009 when Carlo donated his stake in the company Carlo De Benedetti & sons to his natural heirs, the sons Rodolfo, Marco and Edoardo. “I recommend you to maintain and cultivate our tradition of free and independent entrepreneurs”, was the message he reportedly delivered Carlo De Benedetti.
Between the late Eighties and the early Nineties of last century he engaged a business war with Silvio Berlusconi over the control of the Mondadori publishing group, after the latter attempted to take over the control of La Repubblica in 1989. The business dispute was settled with La Repubblica remaining into De Benedetti hands but the case went before court as Berlusconi was sued with corruption charges and convicted by a Rome court to pay damages of nearly 750 million euros to the benefit of De Benedetti’s CIR. In September 2013 Italy’s supreme court confirmed the previous ruling (even if the payment was trimmed to 541 million) and sentenced Berlusconi to two year of jail, which put his Senate seat at risk.