Ferrero research centre opens in Manhattan

Alba - New York will soon get another jewel of Italian excellence.In September Ferrero plans to bring its open innovation science division to Cornell University’s Roosevelt Island campus, nestled in the East River, between Manhattan and Queens

Alba - New York will soon get another jewel of Italian excellence. In September Ferrero plans to bring its open innovation science division to Cornell University’s Roosevelt Island campus, nestled in the East River, between Manhattan and Queens. The R&D division of the Italian confectionary giant will take over part of Cornell NYC’s building complex known as the Bridge, which houses the technology centre at the University, one of the eight Ivy League universities in the US.

The mixed-use real estate firm responsible for the building and operation of the project, Forest City New York, explained that the co-location tech hub is located in the lower portion of the residential island, immediately south of the Queensboro Bridge, the bridge that joins Manhattan with Queens, hence it being called the Bridge. Ferrero International, the Alba-based sweets and chocolates manufacturer‘s international division, developed the project together with financial firm Two Sigma Investment, and with banking giant Citigroup, completing the initial stage of the project for the campus’ development at an overall cost of $2 billion: “We will develop cutting-edge research and technologies that will have transformational effects on our products and business,” said Giovanni Battistini, Deputy Director of Ferrero’s Open Innovation Science. The company that created Nutella is venturing into a terrain usually reserved for Silicon Valley and hi-tech start-ups.

The Italian group’s large pool of tech and innovation know-how enables it to make significant contributions to academia and industry research and innovation, in its domain and beyond. That’s why Ferrero’s inclusion in the campus was “highly compatible with The Bridge’s mission,” explained Ali Esmaeilzadeh, head of Forest City’s commercial leasing division for New York City. Functioning, indeed, as a “bridge”, between Cornell Tech and its students and established companies, start-ups, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.

The goal of the space is to attract a mix of companies from different fields, and act as an “incubator” for technologies and entrepreneurial ideas developed by the university and the innovation centre. Ferrero also aims to strengthen its innovation-driven employee team by hiring Cornell graduates. The centre will occupy a space of about 400 square meters within The Bridge’s seven story building and grounds, which extend over 21,000 square meters, with communal spaces to socialize and recreational areas, including a terrace with a 360-degree view. The Bridge boasts also aesthetic value, it represents a new landmark in the New York skyline.

It is accessible through New York City’s iconic Roosevelt Island Tramway, which connects Tram Plaza on 60th Street and Second Avenue, in Manhattan, and the Roosevelt Island subway station. This new American venture coincides with another historic milestone for the firm founded by Pietro Ferrero: today represents the last day of Giovanni Ferrero’s role as Ferrero’s CEO. From tomorrow a new model of governance will take effect at the company, with Giovanni Ferrero becoming executive chairman.

The position of CEO will be taken up by senior manager, Lapo Civiletti, 56, from Florence, who’s been with the group for over 13 years, and was responsible for central and eastern European operations.

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