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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 ?
The spinoff is supported by the Agnelli family, which controls Fiat Chrysler.
Chief Executive Officer Albert Benchimol was outbid this year by Italy's Exor SpA, the investment vehicle for the billionaire Agnelli family, for PartnerRe.
Britain's Pearson brought an end to its near 60-year ownership of The Economist on Wednesday, agreeing to sell its 50 per cent stake in a deal that makes Italy's Agnelli family the largest shareholder in the weekly title.
the investment company controlled by the Agnelli family.
SeeNews) - Nov 14, 2012 - Italy's Exor SpA (BIT:EXO), the holding company of the Agnelli family, said today it posted a net profit of EUR 286.
Exor, the investment arm of the Agnelli family who also run the car giant Fiat, acquired a 71.
Porsche shares sank 13 percent, reflecting among other things the lower valuations assigned to comparable holding vehicles like Exor , the Agnelli family holding company which is the biggest shareholder in carmaker Fiat.
3% in the Turin-based football club Juventus, owned by Fiat's Agnelli family.
Rupert Murdoch's organisation have teamed with Ferrari's owners the Agnelli family, worth pounds 8billion, and are said to be preparing to make a takeover bid.
The sport faces a crossroads over its potential direction in light of the interest expressed this week by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, in tandem with Italian investment giant EXOR, run by the Agnelli family, with regard to a takeover.
Exor are controlled by the Agnelli family who run car giant Fiat, which in turn owns Ferrari.
EXOR, controlled by the Agnelli family who run car giant Fiat which in turn owns Ferrari, have confirmed they are exploring the prospect of putting together a takeover bid with News Corporation.