Born in 1980, Pippo Cannillo is one of the youngest CEOs in Italian retail. He graduated from Bocconi University with a degree in Business Administration in 2003. He also holds a Master’s degree in Marketing from the HEC in Paris. Pippo Cannillo has been President and CEO of Maiora since 2012. With his vision and capabilities, he has greatly contributed to making this SPAR regional operator one of the largest Italian companies in modern food retail.
With his driven managers and team members, Cannillo continues to grow the SPAR business with a strong vision and strategy. SPAR operator Maiora stands out for its engagement with local communities and drive towards innovation and environmental sustainability.
His career began at an early age in the afternoons after school, answering phone calls, moving boxes and driving forklifts in warehouses for his father’s company.
“Even when I was six or seven, my father used to take me to his business meetings in Milan,” Pippo Cannillo says. “I could attend on the condition that I was silent. I have never considered a career outside the family business. The only other area where I was able to imagine myself is architecture, and I don’t think it is a coincidence: the ability to combine functionality, solidity, and beauty is at the heart of both the profession of the architect and that of the entrepreneur.”
Even when he took over Maiora’s leadership, Pippo Cannillo, now 41, continued to look to his father as a model of entrepreneur-architect. “I learned from him without realising it. He taught me everything by example, never with high-sounding speeches.”
“Family ownership is a strong factor”, he says. “It gives stability and guarantees medium and long-term investments and plans. It allows us to make courageous and long-term choices, which is more challenging when there are multiple shareholders with small stakes.”
“At the same time, however, management requires competent people, which are not always found among relatives. Maiora’s structure sits in the golden middle between a close-knit family business with cousins and grandchildren in key positions and a company that is just aiming at sustained profit.”
Maiora has about 2,500 employees and operates 450 multiformat SPAR stores, either company-owned or affiliated, as well as seven cash & carry stores. The Cannillo group also includes a manufacturing branch which produces cereals and sweets, as well as several real estate companies.
Source: Forbes Italia
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About SPAR Italy
SPAR Italy, known locally as DESPAR Italia, was first granted the SPAR Brand’s licence in 1959. The first store opened in 1960. With it, SPAR became the first partnership of retailers and wholesalers to operate in the country. In addition, SPAR Italy licenses regional partners, all of whom work together to grow the brand across the country.
The DESPAR Partners operate stores under three formats: DESPAR Neighbourhood Supermarkets, EUROSPAR Supermarkets, and INTERSPAR Hypermarkets. Many of the larger format stores are company-owned, reflecting the scale of investment required. While the company achieves most of its turnover through these larger format stores, the independently owned neighbourhood supermarkets remain vital.