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Family business dynasty appoints tech guru to accelerate venture efforts

One of the world’s biggest family business dynasties has hired a former top manager at Apple and Amazon to help its venture investing efforts. 

Exor Seeds, the venture arm of the Agnelli family-owned holding group Exor, has appointed Diego Piacentini as chairman and advisor. 

From 1987 until 20016, Italian born Piacentini held senior roles at Amazon and Apple. He has also advised the Italian government on its digital efforts. Currently, Piacentini, 61, is a senior advisor to private equity group KKR and sits on the board of The Economist Group, whose biggest shareholder is Exor. 

John Elkann, Exor’s CEO and the Agnelli family patriarch at the family business, which owns Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and Piacentini have been business acquaintances for some time. Piacentini was at one point touted as a possible successor to Ferrari’s former CEO Louis Camilleri when he resigned last year from the Exor owned car maker. 

Piacentini is expected to offer Exor Seeds plenty of strategic advice; he is well connected to some of the best-known entrepreneurs and executives in the US tech sector. Currently based in Seattle, Piacentini is also expected to connect better Exor Seeds’ efforts to invest in Italy. In a press release announcing his appointment, Piacentini said: “I have a particular passion for Italy, an undervalued entrepreneurial system which is full of creative and innovative gems.”

Headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands but effectively based in New York City, where its managing director Noam Ohana lives, Exor Seeds is one of the biggest family-backed venture investors, having funded more than 40 startups. These include unicorns and emerging unicorns: CARS24, Lithic, and Tekin. 

Exor Seeds raises funds but is also financially backed by the Agnelli family. 

 

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