Born in Naples on 9 April 1930, Ruggiero graduated from Naples University in 1953 with a law degree. He has held posts as Commerce secretary and in many private firms such as Fiat and the energy firm ENI. Ruggiero entered the foreign service following a degree in law from the University of Naples. After a brilliant career he became a top ranking diplomat managing tough situations in the 1980s such as the Sigonella crisis. He is famous for his ability as a tough negotiator and has thus earned the nickname of "Rocky" Ruggiero. At the time of his death in 2013, Ruggiero was an Ambassador and was working for Citigroup.