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FRDB Fondazione Rodolfo Debenedetti

Rodolfo Debenedetti was born in Asti on August 3rd, 1892. He enrolled in the degree in Mechanical and Electrotechnical Engineering at the Polytechnic of Turin, but he was forced to interrupt his studies by the breakout of World War I, to which he participated from May 24th, 1915 until the armistice. For his service in the army, he was awarded a Croce di Guerra (Military Cross). He then graduated in 1920, and spent the following two years working as a mechanic in Turin and in Germany. Afterwards, he started his own entrepreneurial activity: he founded the “Compagnia Italiana Tubi Metallici Flessibili SpA” (Italian Society of Flexible Metal Tubes) which, together with Savara SpA and RIP, was later merged in the company “Gilardini SpA”, listed on stock exchanges in Milan and Turin. In the years 1930-1940 he participated to the establishment of important companies both in Europe and in the United States, expanding at the same time his own activity in Italy: he founded an important subsidiary company in Milan, Sapiens SpA, which was later called Idro Sapiens, of which he was President for a long time. In the years 1930-1940 he expanded his activity in the field of aeronautic construction, by acquiring the “Fabbrica Italiana Radiatori e Serbatoi per Aerei“ (Italian Factory of Airplanes Radiators and Tanks) and founding an auxiliary workshop, the “Torneria Meccanica Subalpina”. In 1943 he escaped in Switzerland because of the racial persecution; after a period spent in a refugee camp he was sent to exile in Lucerna, together with his family. After returning in Italy in 1945, he started the difficult reconstruction of the “Compagnia Italiana Tubi Metallici Flessibili”, destroyed by the bombing. The company was working at its full capacity already in 1948. Moreover, its production line was soon extended to include automobile filters and thermostats. In 1952 he decided to build the first plants in the South of the country, by founding in Naples the “Tubi Meriflex SpA”. In 1976 the President of Italian Republic awarded him with the honor of “Cavaliere del Lavoro” (Knight of Labour) . He was President of CIR SpA, of which he held the position of Honorary President. He was also President of the family holding “COFIDE – Compagnia Finanziaria De Benedetti SpA” since its foundation. Furthermore, he was Honorary President of “Gilardini SpA” and “SASIB SpA”, and actively participated to all Board Meetings and Assemblies. Rodolfo Debenedetti passed away in Turin, in 1991.