Paolo Berlusconi, a name that spells success

In the most familiar image we have of him, Paolo Berlusconi is portrayed with a cigar in his  hand, hair slicked back and glasses. Silvio’s younger brother Paolo has always had to reckon with the overwhelming personality of the first-born son of the Berlusconi family, striving to be acknowledged in his own right and  not just as “Silvio’s brother”. It is said that he was once asked: “How is your brother’s mother?” and whether this is a metropolitan legend or reality, this amusing quip puts the focus on a personage who normally basks in reflected light only.

We meet the successful businessman and publisher in Rome, his second home after Milano, to ask him what particular significance excellence holds for him, in view of his background and career. Smilingly, he replies: “Excellence used to be represented by the Milan soccer club … Today, we are in the throes of Expo which, as we all know, is an authentic showcase for Italy and the city of Milano. It is also a great opportunity for the many countries taking part in it and we hope to find a way to ‘feed the Planet’ as the theme goes, with everyone’s commitment. With regard to my personal concept of excellence, if we refer to Italy, I could mention those small-medium local businesses, along with larger ones, which are successfully engaged in technological and IT industries. Then, I am thinking of the excellence of the Made in Italy label in general: boat building, fashion, the agri-food chain with its thousands of protected products, acclaimed and envied worldwide.”

“Expo will run for six months: do you think the effects will continue to be felt beyond this period of time?”

“That will depend on many factors… I see that the inauguration of Expo was everything we hoped it would be, despite the umpteen obstacles and glitches we feared might spoil the end result. The strive to finish the Expo pavilions on time leads me to reflect that other nations may be better organized but we Italians are in a class of our own.”

“On the subject of IT and avant-garde technology, what is your relationship with the new media and, above all, social networks?”

“The constant progress being made by communication has radically changed our lifestyle. In a short time, we shall also be using virtual money… I have to admit that I have encountered some difficulties with the social media. I used to be a registered Facebook user but I then decided to close my page. I use the Internet for my correspondence and for gathering information but I leave the social networks to my children and grandchildren!”

“What characteristics do you have in common with your brother, Silvio?”

“Like our parents, we are both hyperactive and never give up, despite the fact that time is no longer on our side. One piece of advice I would give everyone: avoid gettogethers with old school friends. It is on such occasions that you realize that time can be cruel!”

“With your own children and grandchildren in mind, what advice would you give to a young person hoping to start up in business?”

“Even though I have had a successful career as a businessman, I do not feel authorized to give advice to others. I could, however, tell you what Silvio has always said to me: at school, always aim at getting the maximum mark of 10, not a 6, and then there is a good chance you will get an 8. What counts in life is: constant commitment and determination, without ever losing sight of the objective; always have sound ambitions; choose your subordinates carefully but, above all, gratify them in times of success.”

“You are a man of success who has had everything, or almost everything, from life. Do you still have some long-cherished dream…?”

“Of course, it’s better to cherish dreams than recollections! And I have a good many.. Not for me or my generation, but for our children and grandchildren. We are lucky to have been born in a free country like Italy but I would like to see my country emerge to play a leading role among other European and world powers.”

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