The ceramic industry mourns the loss of Giorgio Squinzi


With the death of Giorgio Squinzi in the late afternoon of Wednesday 2 October, the ceramic industry has lost one of its best known and most influential figures.

Giorgio Squinzi passed away in the late afternoon of Wednesday 2 October at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, where he had been admitted a couple of weeks previously following a sudden worsening of a long-term illness.

He was one of the most influential and illustrious representatives of the world ceramic industry. As an entrepreneur at the helm of Mapei Group, he was a pioneer of the sector’s internationalisation process, contributing to the growth and success of ceramic tile in many countries worldwide.

However, Giorgio Squinzi meant much more than this to our publishing group as he was one of the founders of the magazine Tile Italia thirty years ago. We express our sympathy to his wife Adriana Spazzoli and children Veronica and Marco through the words of the magazine’s editor Chiara Bruzzichelli.

Giorgio Squinzi has left us, and it is a sad loss for us all

Giorgio Squinzi passed away in the late afternoon of Wednesday 2 October at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, where he had been admitted a couple of weeks previously following a sudden worsening of a long-term illness.

Born on 18 May 1943, he graduated in Industrial Chemistry from the State University of Milan. He was Chairman of Confindustria from 2012 to 2016, a member of the Board of Directors of Banca d’Italia and twice chairman of Federchimica. For ten years he was the owner of the Mapei-Quick Step cycling team, winner of many of the most important world titles, but he was shocked by the doping scandal and in 2002 decided to abandon the world of cycling. He was the owner of the Sassuolo Calcio football club, overseeing its promotion from the C2 division all the way to Serie A, and of its grounds, the Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia.

But Squinzi was first and foremost sole administrator of Mapei Italia and Chairman of Mapei Group, a leading company in the field of chemical products for building with operations spanning 35 countries. With 81 factories and 31 R&D laboratories and a workforce of 10,500 direct employees worldwide, including around 2,200 in Italy, Mapei Group posted 2018 revenues of around 2.5 billion euros.

With the support of his wife Adriana Spazzoli and in recent years also of his children Veronica and Marco, Squinzi devoted his entire working life to Mapei, which was founded in 1937 by his father Rodolfo. The business was an example of pure entrepreneurship in which the revenues were constantly reinvested in the company without distributing dividends. Not once did the company post a loss or lay off employees. It never engaged in financial speculation, but was deeply committed to research & development, internationalisation and corporate social responsibility. “We devote great attention to sustainability-enabling products, in other words all the solutions that we develop with the primary aim of improving safety and reducing the impact of buildings on the environment,” Squinzi told us in one of his last interviews. “For Mapei, sustainability means nurturing talent, proactivity and team spirit, and placing its professional know-how at the service of the community driven by a strong sense of social responsibility. At Mapei Group we love to get involved and actively participate in the life of the community that surrounds us by sponsoring events and initiatives in the fields of sport, culture and solidarity.”

In recognition of his love for the city of Milan, in 1996 mayor Marco Formentini presented him with the city’s highest honour, the Ambrogino d’Oro. He also had a lifelong passion for music and since 2016 had been a member of the board of directors of the Teatro alla Scala opera house, but over the years he also participated in countless cultural initiatives and urban restoration projects. He received many official awards, from an honorary degree in Chemical Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Milan to the Premio Leonardo Qualità Italia conferred by former Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. Squinzi was a Cavaliere del Lavoro (Knight of Labour) in Italy and a Commandeur dell’Ordre de la Couronne (Commander of the Order of the Crown) in Belgium.

Amongst his many initiatives, although certainly not the most important, I would like to recall that Giorgio Squinzi and his wife Adriana Spazzoli were amongst the founders of TILE ITALIA, the magazine that has been devoted to the world of ceramic tiles for the last 30 years. At that time, Mapei was leading the transition in ceramic floor and wall tile installation from traditional to adhesive-based systems, and very rapidly dominated the market.

Giorgio Squinzi’s passing is a sad loss for us all, but we are grateful for the example he has left us as both an entrepreneur and a human being. We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife Adriana and children Veronica and Marco, who for years had been actively involved in running the company.

Chiara Bruzzichelli,