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(än-yĕl`lē), family of Italian industrialists.

Giovanni Agnelli, 1866–1945, served as a cavalry officer until 1892. One of the founders (1899) of Fiat (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino), he became its head in 1901. He also established (1907) Italy's first ball-bearing plant. Under Agnelli's leadership, Fiat became one of Europe's leading manufacturers of automobiles and also produced airplanes, railroad cars and locomotives, streetcars, and tractors as well as armament for the Italian military. He supported Benito MussoliniMussolini, Benito
, 1883–1945, Italian dictator and leader of the Fascist movement. Early Career

His father, an ardent Socialist, was a blacksmith; his mother was a teacher.
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, who rewarded Agnelli with an appointment (1923) to the Italian senate. An important figure in Italy's World War II mobilization, Angelli was removed from Fiat's leadership after the war's end.

His grandson, Giovanni Agnelli, 1921–2003, known as Gianni Angelli, studied law at the Univ. of Turin and was an army officer during World War II. He was named a vice president (1953) of Fiat, managing director (1963), and chairman (1966), returning the company to family control. Also active in politics, he was appointed to the Italian senate in 1991. Under his direction, Fiat diversified into banking, insurance, energy companies, real estate, chemicals, newspaper publishing, tourism, and other industries. Although the Fiat car company was in serious financial trouble by late 20th cent., Gianni Agnelli remained committed to the family's original business, which accounted for less than a quarter of Fiat's holdings when he died.

His younger brother, Umberto Agnelli, 1934–2004, also studied law at the Univ. of Turin (grad. 1959), served (1976–79) as a senator, and was a senior Fiat executive, spending many years running the family holding companies IFI (est. 1927) and IFIL (acquired 1958). He was largely responsible for the diversification of Fiat that occurred during Gianni's chairmanship. Upon his brother's death, Umberto succeeded him as chairman, serving until his own death.

Gianni's grandson, John Philip Elkann, 1975–, was his grandfather's chosen successor. Elkann, who grew up in Britain, Brazil, and France and studied engineering in Turin, joined the Fiat board at 22 and was widely considered the heir apparent to company leadership. After the death of his grandfather and great-uncle he became vice chairman of Fiat (now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) and of the family holding company Giovanni Agnelli e C.; he became chairman of both in 2010. In 2011 Elkann also became chairman of Exor (created by the merger of IFI and IFIL in 2009).

References in periodicals archive ?
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who has said he plans to retire this summer, is undecided over his future and will meet with club president Andrea Agnelli to talk things through, he told a television programme on Sunday.
Summary: Today in History: January 24, 2003: Italian business baron Agnelli dies
Legendary pages have been written, but now the horizons must widen," Agnelli said at the club's Christmas party.
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Gianni Agnelli has been dead for 13 years, but still his name resonates when people discuss Italy, style, or the Fiat automobile company.
Brazilian banker Roger Agnelli died on March 19 in a plane crash after his turboprop monoplane slammed into two homes minutes after taking off at an airport in northern Sao Paulo.
Roger Agnelli, the former chief executive officer of Vale SA, the world's largest iron ore producer, was among seven people killed when a small plane crashed on Saturday in the northern suburbs of Brazil's largest city, a source close to aviation authorities told Reuters.
JUVENTUS president Andrea Agnelli has provided a glimmer of hope for Manchester City and other clubs interested that Paul Pogba is not a certainty to remain with the Italian champions next season.
Exor is controlled by the Agnelli family, and owns a controlling stake in automaker Fiat Chrylser.
Auto Business News-December 5, 2014--Maserati achieves milestone of producing 50,000 cars at Giovanni Agnelli Plant
The denial of the report, which quoted company insiders, was echoed by a statement by the Agnelli family's holding firm Exor SpA (BIT:EXO), owning 30% of Fiat Chrysler, that there were no negotiations with VW about Exor shedding its stake in Fiat Chrysler.