Riccardo Illy

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Riccardo Illy
Riccardo Illy-Rovereto.jpg
Presidents of Friuli Venezia Giulia
In office
9 June 2003 – 18 April 2008
Deputy Gianfranco Moretton
Preceded by Renzo Tondo
Succeeded by Renzo Tondo
Personal details
Born (1955-09-24) 24 September 1955 (age 59)
Trieste, Italy
Nationality Italian
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Rossana Bettini
Children 1
Residence Trieste
Profession Businessman
Religion Waldensian

Riccardo Illy (born 24 September 1955) is an Italian businessman and former politician.


Riccardo Illy was born in Trieste, Friuli-Venezia Giulia. His name shows Hungarian origins.

As a young man he worked as a skiing instructor at Piancavallo and a sailing instructor at Monfalcone. He married Rossana Bettini, food and wine journalist, when he was very young. They have a daughter Daria who is now a Physical Education teacher and personal trainer.

He started work in the family’s coffee making firm in 1977. He reorganised the internal business structure as well as the structures of the controlled firms. He created a marketing department for “Illycaffè” which until then had never existed. He wrote a book Dal Caffe all'Espresso (From Coffeebeans to Espresso) published by Mondadori and translated into English, French and German. He has been Business Director and then CEO and at present he is the Vice President of “Illycaffe SpA” - a company founded in 1933 by his paternal grandfather, who was of Hungarian origin — which today is present in over 140 countries.

He has held positions of Vice President of the Association of Industrialists in Trieste and President of the Seminario Permanente Veronelli.

Independent and supported by a coalition which preceded the Ulivo Party (Olive Branch Party) and also by a civic list bearing his name, Illy has been elected twice — in 1993 and again in 1997 - as Mayor of Trieste as allowed by law. As First Citizen and a sincere music lover, he has taken up the position of President of Trieste’s Theatre Giuseppe Verdi.

Until 2002 he was Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the Transpadane European Railway Line.

He was honoured with the title of Grande Ufficiale by the President of the Italian Republic and the “Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold” title by the President of the Austrian Republic.

He was awarded an honoris causa degree in Political Sciences at the University of Trieste after his “lectio doctoralis” on the topic of enlargement of Europe to the Eastern Countries.

In 2001 he was elected Member of the Italian Parliament with the mixed group of independent members. He was part of the IX Parliamentary Commission (Transport, Postal Services and Telecommunications) and Secretary to the Advisory Parliamentary Commission regarding the bringing into force of the administrative reforms.

He has strongly believed in and promoted the referendum not confirming the regional electoral law. When the direct election of the President was obtained, he kept his promise to the citizens of Trieste and he ran as a candidate for the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region supported by the Democratic Coalition Party (Intesa Democratica).

He was elected President of the Region in the elections held on 8th and 9 June 2003.

He was unanimously elected President of the Assembly of European Regions (AER) in December 2004. The AER currently has 250 member Regions from 30 European countries.

On 14 April 2008 Illy was defeated in his re-election bid by candidate Renzo Tondo and his term as President ended on 18 April 2008.

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