The Leonardo 2018 Awards were presented at Palazzo Barberini, in the presence of the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella. Among the honorees, Tan Xuguang, President of Weichai Group and Ferretti Group. (In the photo, starting from the left, Carlo Ferro, President of ICE Agency, Vincenzo Boccia, President of Confindustria, Tan Xuguang, President of Weichai Group and Ferretti Group, Luisa Todini, President of Leonardo Committee, Luigi Di Maio, Minister of Economic Development).
As well as the President of the Republic, the ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the Minister for Economic Development Luigi Di Maio, the President of the Committee Leonardo Luisa Todini, the President of the ICE Agency Carlo Ferro and the President of Confindustria Vincenzo Boccia.
The initiative is promoted by the Leonardo Committee, created in 1993 from the common idea of Senator Sergio Pininfarina and Senator Gianni Agnelli, the ICE Agency, Confindustria and a group of entrepreneurs, with the aim of spreading and strengthening the image of excellence of Italy in the world. In 2018, the Leonardo Committee alone achieved a total turnover of almost 360 billion euros, about 20.4% of Italian GDP, with an average export share of 55%.
The Leonardo International Prize was conferred to Tan Xuguang, Chairman of the Weichai Group and Ferretti Group, who in 2009 began a process of global expansion with the acquisition of Baudouin in France, KION and Linde Hydraulics in Germany, Dematic and PSI in the United States, Ceres in England and Ballard in Canada, reaching a global turnover of 31 billion euros. Under the leadership of Tan Xuguang, the Weichai Group successfully completed the acquisition of the Ferretti Group, with a total investment of 400 million euros.
The award ceremony, which took place shortly before the visit to Italy of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, further shows how Italian companies are now closely connected to the will of these major foreign investors, raising doubts about the dependency relationships that may arise in the future.