Executive MBA "CEO Talks"

Giovanni Colavita, CEO of Colavita and Full-Time MBA Alumnus, meets with Executive MBA students at SDA Bocconi to share the success story of his family business

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At the new SDA Bocconi headquarters in Rome, EMBA students met Giovanni Colavita, CEO of Colavita USA, the leading exporter of "Made in Italy" in America, for their excellence in extra virgin olive oil.

The objective of the meeting is to share his experience and contribution in the transformation of the family business, into an export-oriented reality, which has allowed it to represent today an Italian excellence in the world.

The CEO's story was filled with the deep humanity, which characterizes the company's the way of doing business. It was founded in 1938 by his grandfather and blends a classic business model with a backbone of family and personal relationships. This is what the Colavita brand and its products have exported to the United States.

Raised with passion for this work, Giovanni Colavita joined the family business after a law degree from La Sapienza in Rome, a Full-Time MBA at SDA Bocconi and experience at Coca-Cola. Thanks to the skills he acquired over the years, he was able to help expand the company, becoming CEO in 2008 and focusing on business expansion. To date, Colavita USA is present in more than 80 countries and produced $150 million in sales in 2021.

The company's success, in a market run by large investment funds, is the result of their great ability to diversify the business model and a series of strategic decisions, which have hit their target of meeting the trends of the future.

One of the big challenges they overcame was definitely the matter of e-commerce. At a time when few saw the great potential that the sector had, Colavita USA decided to invest instead, and thanks to that choice it is now one of the biggest players in that area of the market.

In addition to the changes regarding the retail function, the other big battle was fought in the area of partnerships and investments. In 2001, in fact, the company decided to invest in the food service sector more than others and thanks to the knowledge and preparation of some chefs, the sector was receptive to the use of extra virgin olive oil in cooking. Thus the birth of the "Colavita Center for Italian Food and Wine" was born, a center of excellence dedicated to the culture of Made in Italy food.

It's a beautiful Italian story in which the excellence of the products, the storytelling that is unique to the Italian market and the allies who have come together along the way have been the real strength of a family business that has roots in the past but is facing more than ever toward the future.



SDA Bocconi School of Management

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