Gruppo ospedaliero San Donato

The Group headed by the young Paolo Rotelli is Italy’s largest and most prestigious private healthcare group, with its accounts to prove it. After acquiring the San Raffaele Hospital and putting it back on an even keel, the Group now plans to expand and give head physicians more responsibility

Paolo Rotelli

Paolo Rotelli

People say that «he was born in a white coat», an affectionate, tongue-in-cheek way of implying that Paolo Rotelli –the Chairman of Italy’s largest private healthcare company– seems to be born for this role. Regardless of his age (Paolo is only 26) and the untimely death of his father who built the Group, it’s a fact that the holding company owned by the Rotelli family has experienced a strong, consistent growth over the last two years. The San Donato Hospital Group is the jewel in the family’s crown and includes the San Raffaele Hospital, acquired when it was on the verge of collapse and put back on an even keel.


Today the Group’s turnover amounts to almost € 1.5 billion, with 18 hospitals, 15,303 employees, 5169 beds and 3.9 million patients. In 2014, the Ebitda was € 233 million (+2%) and Ebit, € 93.5 million (+10%), with a net result of € 38 million (it was only 1 million in 2013). All this after depreciation and amortization of € 82 million, provisions for over € 54 million, and € 125 million in taxes. And the figures for 2015 are set to show further improvement. Also relevant is the fall in debt from € 431 million to € 410 million, and the increase in net worth, from € 323 million to € 385 million. It would be a mistake to think that all this has been achieved by sacrificing investments, which on the contrary, have increased by approximately 50%. 

It seems decades since the San Raffaele Hospital crisis was the main emergency in the Italian healthcare system, but in fact it’s only been three years. However, Paolo has no intention of resting on his laurels: «Of course, San Raffaele is on a sure footing by now, but we want to do even better. We want it to grow considerably». The facts are backing up the young Chairman’s words. On the research side of things, the Group is at the forefront of medicinal chemistry, developing a new vaccine against haemophilia A and B in gene therapy.

As for the San Donato Polyclinic –the Group’s beating heart– the plan is to make it the reference point for cardiovascular research and prevention. This young entrepreneur has also outlined important industrial development plans for the near future, which include writing off the debt within four years and investing € 300 million in restoring and building 550 beds in a new hospital that will merge the Galeazzi and Sant’Ambrogio medical centres.

Rotelli explains that all this was made possible by a careful management plan laid down by his father Giuseppe and overseen every day by Nicola Bedin, the Ceo, that Paolo has confirmed. The idea is to hand head physicians as much responsibility as possible to manage their departments as a mini-company. This way, they feel driven by a strong entrepreneurial spirit and that they can and must express themselves the best they can, reporting to one boss who has the spending power, the Ceo, guided by Paolo Rotelli’s strategies.