John Philip Jacob Elkann (born 1 April 1976) is an Italian industrialist. He was the chosen heir of his grandfather Gianni Agnelli, and chairs and controls the automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (which owns the Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ferrari, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Lancia, Maserati, Mopar and Ram brands). He is the chairman and CEO of Exor, an investment company controlled by the Agnelli family, which controls CNH Industrial and Juventus F.C.. According to Fortune, he is the world’s fourth most influential manager under the age of 40.
Born in New York City, John Elkann is the first son of Alain Elkann, a journalist and writer of French Jewish and Italian Jewish background, and his then wife Italian Margherita Agnelli. His parents divorced in 1981 and both have remarried. Elkann’s maternal grandparents were the Italian socialite Marella Agnelli (born Donna Marella Caracciolo di Castagneto) and the industrialist Gianni Agnelli. His paternal great-grand-uncle was the banker Ettore Ovazza.
Elkann was raised Catholic. On 4 September 2004, Elkann married Lavinia Borromeo (born Lavinia Ida Borromeo-Arese on 10 March 1977 in Milan, Italy) a member of the prominent Italian aristocratic family the House of Borromeo. They married in a Roman Catholic ceremony on Isola Madre, one of the Borromean Islands of Lake Maggiore.
They have three children. A son named Leone (Italian for lion) Mosé, was born on 27 August 2006. On 11 November 2007, Mrs. Elkann gave birth to the couple’s second boy, Oceano (Italian for ocean) Noah. Their third child, a girl named Vita (Italian for life) Talita was born on 23 January 2012. They were all born in Turin at S.Anna’s Hospital.
While pursuing his degree in Engineering, Elkann gained work experience through several internships: headlight plant in Birmingham, England (1996), production line in Tychy, Poland (1997), car dealership in Lille, France (1998) and also at GE’s CIG (corporate initiatives group) where he worked on a thesis on e-auctions (1999). In December 1997, Elkann was selected by his grandfather Gianni Agnelli to take the place in the family business of Giovanni Alberto Agnelli, the son of Gianni’s younger brother, Umberto, who had died at the age of 33. He was appointed to the Fiat Board at the age of 21. In 2000, after graduating in Engineering from Politecnico di Torino, he joined General Electric’s Corporate Audit program. He left General Electric two years later.
In 2003, he joined IFIL (now Exor) and worked on the turnaround of Fiat Group.
Elkann was instrumental in the appointment of current Fiat CEO, Sergio Marchionne, in May 2004.
After the deaths of his grandfather Gianni Agnelli in 2003, and his great-uncle Umberto Agnelli in 2004, Elkann became vice chairman of Fiat and vice chairman of Giovanni Agnelli & C, the family partnership through which it controls EXOR. In 2010, he became chairman of Fiat S.p.A. (now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), succeeding Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, and chairman of the Giovanni Agnelli e C. Sapaz, succeeding Gianluigi Gabetti. In February 2011, he was appointed chairman and CEO of EXOR.
He is also chairman of Editrice La Stampa, a board member of News Corp, CNH Industrial, and The Economist Group.
In addition, he is an active member of various non-profit organizations and think-tanks engaged in the global geopolitical debate, including serving as vice chairman of the Italian Aspen Institute and the Giovanni Agnelli Foundation and as a member of the Brookings Institution and MOMA.