“Most of my life, I worked three shifts: arrived at the office at 8:30am, went back home at 1pm, was back to work at 3pm until 7:30, and then would start again from 10 or 12pm until 3:30 the next morning.”
He certainly inspired following generations of Italian entrepreneurs. Cavaliere Alberto Aleotti, president of Menarini, might have been awarded entrepreneur of the Year in 2007 by Ernst and Young; but he prefers to look back at his whole career of 67 years dedicated to the pharmaceutical industry (of which 45 at the head of Menarini), with a subtle mixture of pride and humility.
“I consider this ability to work long hours as a critical success factor in the leadership of Menarini. Having looked at multinationals all my life, I always felt I had to do more than them in order to reach their level. Coming from a very modest family, I have been the only one from my school to fight and go to a university.” Aleotti´s feat is ever so heartening as he had to work during the day at the Farmacie Comunali Riunite di Reggio Emilia, ¨thus only having the night left to study.” Getting an ¨A¨ grade on a university exam for which he did not attend class gave him “enough courage to always give a try to what seems impossible and keep following entrepreneurial ambitions.”
His personal ethic has permeated the company he still leads with an iron hand at 86 years of age. “The constant appraisal of merit, excellence and hard work is part of Menarini’s DNA,” he concludes. “Even though I probably should not, because of my age, I personally examine each new employee of the company.” Indeed, each of them has to be able to support the winning strategy of Menarini: “to focus on overtaking bigger players in terms of quality but also quantity of working hours.”