A global group, able to compete with few international big players. With 21 production centres on four continents, increasing revenues and orders worth €20 bn: from cruise liners to military constructions, to oil & gas ships...

Giuseppe Bono

Giuseppe Bono

«Take a look at this. It’s a print from 1786 of a launching in our shipyard in Castellammare di Stabia. When I was appointed as the Ceo of Fincantieri, many people advised me to close it. But I asked myself: who am I to wipe away more than two centuries of history? And it was in Castellammare that we recently built a hybrid ferry for Canada. It is the first to be made in Italy –and one of only a few in the world– with a dual fuel engine that can run on both marine diesel oil and gas».

These are the words of the venerable Giuseppe Bono, who has been at the helm of Fincantieri and showing all of his sanguine professional dedication since April 2002. Few Italian managers in the country’s economic history have been more strongly identifiable with the company in their charge. With the print, he was linking an unsettled present and uncertain future with a glorious tradition and reviving it, which is something that he has been doing magnificently ever since he started at Fincantieri. «It took the determination and patience of a man from the South to pull it off», he quipped candidly.

It is important to be clear what we are talking about: Fincantieri is a global giant that competes with just a few other international players and its results are steadily improving. It has 21 shipyards on four continents, almost 21,000 employees (a third of whom are in Italy), increasing revenues and a total workload bordering on € 20 bn. It works for clients all over the world on everything from cruise liners and military constructions to support ships for the oil & gas industry and mega yachts.

The competition is tough, but the company is on solid ground, whereas when Bono started at Fincantieri it only had orders for cruise jobs from the Carnival group and in the military field it was working solely for the Italian navy. «We have rebuilt everything. We have started exporting military output and we have bought shipyards in the United States. I leveraged the company’s outstanding human resources and at the end of the day, it was do or die: either we managed to grow and diversify or it would all have come crashing down. So we simply had to grow abroad». In the second half of 2008, the crisis hit hard. However, Bono said: «Why should we ask the government for money to build cruise ships? We need to do it by ourselves. The watchword is working for the public in order to create value for the whole country». 

Fincantieri is now a global company that shows great versatility in the production of a huge range of different sizes and types of ships. For example, its cruise ships go from 100 to 2500 cabins. It did some unprecedented work for Msc Cruises by extending the length of four ships. In a colossal project, it cut them in half and added a new section that was 24 metres long in the middle of each one. Nowhere in the world had it ever been done before. On the military production front, Fincantieri is now a supplier to the Pentagon and the Us Navy: «I put our achievements down to the ability that we Italians have -when we want- to be not only credible but also valued».