Genoa - A few days after the election of the new president of UCINA, namely Massimo Perotti, another disturbance is threatening to rock the Confindustria boat, and this just after the Baglietto and Cerri brands’ recent exit from the association. Baglietto and Cerri are owned by the entrepreneur Beniamino Gavio. This time it could affect another long-standing big-name company in the sector, that of Azimut-Benetti, which belongs to the Vitellis. Paolo, who is now an MP and was the president of UCINA from 1999 to 2006, is leaving the company in the hands of his daughter Giovanna, the only member on the association’s board of directors, who did not vote, last Friday in Santa Margherita, for the election of new President Massimo Perotti.
Let’s start by discussing the last UCINA assembly. You were the only person who abstained from the vote. Would you have preferred someone else in the job other than Perotti?
“I don’t agree with several issues that the new president has pushed forward. They are ideas that I don’t like and programmes with which I can’t identify. I had no choice.”Does this mean that Azimut-Benetti could also leave UCINA?
“We’ll see, anything could happen. Our support is certainly not unconditional.”
Are you thinking of doing something else together with Gavio?
“That is the only thing that I can definitely rule out. Although the Gavio case was certainly mishandled.”
What do you mean?
“I understand that there are certain formalities (ed. Gavio was excluded from the board of directors because his entry arrived late) but the association should try to work together instead of thinking about other issues. And it wasn’t a nice thing to lose a historically important brand like Baglietto.”
Given these premises, will Azimut-Benetti be at the next Genoa Boat Show?
“We are evaluating our next moves, we will consider the costs and all aspects of this case. Then we will decide whether to go or not.”
What do you think about the new company Saloni Nautici Spa, which was created by UCINA together with the Genoa Fair?
“An operation like that ties UCINA to the Fair: there is a chance that this could result in several years of inactivity.”
What could the consequences for the Boat Show be?
“Do you want the truth? The Genoa Boat Show was a prestigious fair that unfortunately has dropped so low that it is now in danger of becoming an exhibition of merely local interest.”
Let’s take a step backwards. Perotti worked with you for many years at Azimut. Do you hold a grudge against him?
“Absolutely not. I am only saying that recently, when Perotti was Vice President of UCINA before the latest election, the policies were always short-sighted. Things should be handled differently, we should open a dialogue with the institutions and with the political world. Today our sector isn’t taken seriously.”
One curiosity: is it true that during the informal consultations you promised your support to Perotti but then took it back when the vote was taken?
“Hogwash. I have always carried my own ideas forward.