When Lapo’s serious, older brother, John, turned 17, he was summoned from Paris to Turin by his grandfather in order to begin his education in the executive suite of Fiat.
When Lapo finished high school, he was also summoned by Gianni Agnelli to work in the family business.‘Fate, which gives out the poker cards of life, gave me a straight flush,” Lapo once told reporters.
In many ways, Lapo was the child of his grandfather, the man all Italy knew as l’Avvocato (the lawyer), who had built Fiat into an industrial complex that propelled postwar Italy into being the world’s sixth-strongest economy.
Once estimated to be worth $3.1 billion, Gianni Agnelli’s empire included Fiat, the Juventus soccer team, the Château Margaux vineyards, a department store, an aviation plant, and in the wake of what Italians had begun to refer to as “the crisis.” “These are the words that he would pronounce obsessively.
His mother and Serge and their children had taken up residence in a villa in Switzerland.