Massimo Gargiulo left us on a Saturday morning of October 2013 in Milan while speaking at a public conference. He was just following, up until his very last minute, his lifelong passion for politics as a personal commitment to civic responsibility. Massimo was a veteran in his field, the public affairs, but his political engagement began since he was a student in his teens. When he died, Massimo had been working for three years for Lifonti as senior advisor and was dedicated to the consultancy in the crisis and issues management. Before that, he worked for almost twenty years in Burson Marsteller, with progressively increasing responsibilities up to that of chairman, Italy. Massimo, 67, always cultivated, along with his professionalism, a political passion that brought him, among other things, to serve as member of the Regional Council of Lombardy.
Born in Milan in 1945, when the country was crawling its way out of the war and the Nazi occupation, Massimo spent most of his life in the capital of Lombardy, where he graduated in Political Sciences. He died while giving a speech on political reforms and Catholic culture, an issue that impassioned him since the early Sixties, leaving his wife Letizia, his daughters Francesca Maria and Alessandra, his sister Rita, along with an incredible number of friends and fellow professionals and politicians who loved and appreciated him in so many different ways.
His full commitment to his work as a public affairs professional, along with his civic and political engagement, were the guiding light of Massimo’s entire life. He became actively involved in politics in 1968 as a member of the Christian-Democrat party where he was deputy secretary for Milan. From 1981 to 1985 he served as member of the Regional Council of Lombardy as a representative of the Christian Democrats and followed Transports and Economic Activities. Massimo’s civic commitment went along with the social one. From 1970 to 1973 he led the Centre for Political and Social Studies named after Achille Grandi in Milan, while also in the Seventies he was among the founders of ISAMEPS, the Institute of Administrative, Political and Social Sciences of Milan, an initiative with the mission of training and educating political and administrative personnel. Early in the Nineties Gargiulo also was among the founders of IASS, the Milan-based Institute for the Analysis of the Welfare State, chaired by Mariapia Garavaglia, a former Health minister and a prominent political figure to whom he was giving his advice until the date of his death.
Also thanks to his political and social experience he was indeed able to provide top managers with effective advice and support while handling major issues of crisis, at a national and international level. He was also a brilliant campaign manager in several fields, including the food industry, health and environment. His top level professionalism, combined with his integrity and reliability, were highly appreciated in Italy and abroad, and in 1992 he was hired by a big firm of the global consultancy industry, Burson-Marsteller, that he joined in 1992 as member of the Italian board of directors and where he became vice-president in charge of public affairs, issues and crisis management Italy in 1996. Gargiulo was eventually appointed chairman for Italy in 2007, a post he kept until 2011 when he rejoined his former colleague at Burson and longtime friend Diego Lifonti at Lifonti & Company.
Working was in itself also a civic and social commitment for Massimo Gargiulo. He was an active member of Ferpi, the Italian association of public relations professionals, and of Assorel, the Italian association of public relations part of the National employers association Confindustria, where he was member of the board since 2010.
In November 2013 Assorel announced it will devote a special journalism prize in memory of Massimo Gargiulo. He was in fact a regular contributor to his city main newspapers with a focus on the issues he cared most about – among which the protection and the enhancement of Italy’s cultural heritage, an issue he addressed also by writing dedicated legislative proposals.