- Business - Benetti hires new General Manager

By Dario Schiavo

Benetti hires new General Manager

We speak with the former Ferrari and Technogym executive to discuss his new position, previous experience and future product development at Benetti…

Amid the buzz of the 46th edition of the Cannes Yachting Festival, Massimiliano Casoni, Benetti's new General Manager, begins his tenure at the Tuscan shipyard. Having joined in a particularly hot month for yachting, we speak with the former Ferrari engineer about his new role, the development of new products, and the efficiency of the shipyard.

Dario Schiavo: Welcome to the nautical world. Given your previous experience as an engineer, what contributions will you bring to the yard?

Massimiliano Casoni: I feel particularly proud to be part of this incredible brand that can already boast 150 years of history. It's a challenge that charges me a lot and that sees me thinking about how I can make my experience an added value for the Group. Of my 54 years, 30 have been spent as a mechanical engineer working on design products of Italian excellence in companies that have Italian design, craftsmanship and prestige in common with Benetti.

It's an immense source of pride to be part of this illustrious brand, which boasts a rich history spanning 150 years. This new challenge fuels my drive, compelling me to ponder how I can leverage my experience to enrich the Group.

My transition to yachting followed a lengthy tenure in the automotive industry, so my primary interests revolve around logistics, industrialisation, manufacturing, process efficiency, and product development.

My tenure at Ferrari, primarily in the R&D domain, allowed me to play a pivotal role in the design and construction of two significant cars: the Ferrari California, a project strongly endorsed by Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, and the FF, the Maranello company's first 4-wheel drive vehicle.

I remember that Montezemolo used to say that we should increase the production run of the cars while maintaining the exclusivity of the product. This experience has provided me with the vision of what I aspire to achieve at Benetti. My role in the company later evolved into that of Industrial Director, where I spearheaded the resurgence of manufacturing, quality assurance, and production processes.

It wasn't until 2015 that I decided to switch industries after an encounter with Nerio Alessandro, one of the most innovative and dynamic entrepreneurs I've ever crossed paths with, completely altered my perspective.

With Technogym, we orchestrated a rapid ascent in the stock market, transforming the company's focus from B2B to B2C. This marked the shift towards a company exclusively attuned to the end customer's interests. Our achievements included exponential growth in both profitability and market share. This phase served as an extraordinary training ground, particularly from a technological perspective. There, I embraced the digital revolution, which I now believe can be applied to the nautical sector.

I am drawn to this industry. It presents new challenges that I relish. At Benetti, there is the right continuity in terms of Italian excellence of a luxury product, with complex technology and design. This role is the culmination of the professional profile that I have cultivated over the years.

 Dario Schiavo: How will Benetti change with your arrival?

Casoni: With my managerial skills, I will lead the company to first maintain and then increase margins. Our focus will encompass industrialisation, supply chain optimisation and streamlining internal processes. Aligning functions and skills concisely will enable us to drive the brand towards enhanced profitability and efficiency, creating substantial value for our customers.

In product development, my goal is to implement dynamics and processes that contribute to the strengthening of product quality and consistency. We also plan to consolidate turnover and increase it over time.

Simultaneously, I'm committed to harmonising various industrial processes and facilitating swifter deliveries at an even higher quality than our current offerings. I also intend to build upon the concrete achievements of the past two years. I see myself as a conductor, where it's the tangible outcomes that matter most—effective leadership and enabling our talented teams to unlock their full potential.

Schiavo: What does your new role entail?

Casoni: My responsibility is broad. As General Manager I'll be in charge of every aspect, from sales to operations to the development of the Benetti brand. I firmly believe that actions speak louder than words and that true leadership lies in providing the means for your team to perform at their best. 

Schiavo: What is your relationship with boating?

Casoni: While I've never owned a boat myself, I have had the pleasure of embarking on numerous sailing holidays. I've served as a naval officer, which has afforded me valuable insights into the maritime world. I approach my current role with fervour, driven by my passion for innovation, research, and development.

My fascination with Benetti was immediate. Upon setting foot in the Livorno shipyard, I was awestruck by the grandeur of the yachts. Beyond their sheer beauty and opulence, I immediately saw before me the opportunity for a truly stimulating engineering and technical challenge, one that I eagerly anticipate embracing.


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