Lapo Elkann is a rather famous style and design conscious Italian bon vivant and business man – his friends even call him “Lapo of Luxury”. Elkann is the son of Alain Elkann, a Jewish writer, intellectual and journalist, and Margherita Agnelli, the daughter of Gianni Agnelli, founder of Fiat and one of the wealthiest and most influential people in Italy.
The elder Elkann, on his mother’s side, is a descendant of the Ovazza family of influential Jewish-Italian bankers. His father was French, chairman of Dior and President of the Consistoire Central Israélite de France, responsible for appointing the country’s chief rabbis.
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The elder Elkann is now president of the Egyptian Museum in Turin, teaches literature at the university and serves as president and board member of major cultural institutions and organizations, and has written many books on the history of Italian Jewry. One of them, Essere ebreo (To be Jewish), was written in collaboration with Elio Toaff, Chief Rabbi of Rome; another is a collection of conversations he had with the rabbi, Il Messia e gli ebrei (The Messiah and the Jews). He also wrote a book in collaboration with the Archbishop of Milan, Carlo Maria Martini, and a book about Islam with Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan.
Lapo Elkann, states on his Wikipedia page that he considers himself Jewish and has visited Israel. The elder Elkann believes all Jews should develop strong ties with the country.
Lapo and his brother John are majority shareholders of Fiat, a corporation that controls all the major Italian car brands –Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, and Lancia. In 2011, the company also acquired control of the Chrysler Group – with brands such as Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and Mopar. The two also have a sister, Ginevra.
Fiat is controlled by the investment company EXOR, which also owns Juventus FC, the Turin soccer team; Cushman & Wakefield, a privately held commercial real-estate services company with 243 offices in 60 countries and more than 14, 000 employees; and SGS, a multinational company that provides services to businesses.
Elkann, 35, is naughty, flamboyant and extravagant. He was manager of the Fiat brand and successfully launched the Fiat 500. Three years ago, he was voted one of the 25 sexiest men by GQ magazine, and he was twice named best dressed by Vanity Fair. He is considered one of the most creative marketing talents in Italy, naturally and youthfully combining his blue blood with modern style.
Seven years ago, he was involved in a scandalous affair, when he was found unconscious from a drug overdose at the home of a 54-year-old transsexual prostitute who called an ambulance.
In 2007, Elkann founded a lifestyle brand called Italia Independent, which specializes in fashion and eyewear, and another company that produces limited editions of unique items for luxury brands, such as 900 units of a silver Alfa Romeo.