The Torch Passes At Fiat

The Agnellis, Europe's most powerful industrial dynasty, are preparing for change at the top. Giovanni Agnelli, the 70-year-old head of the family, announced on Nov. 24 that his brother Umberto, 57, would succeed him as Fiat chairman. No date was set, but under the bylaws of Giovanni Agnelli & Co., the family holding company, the elder Agnelli must retire when he turns 75 in 1995. Says a Fiat insider: "Nothing excludes transferring power before 1995."

Umberto has overseen large Agnelli investments in French food giant BSN, Club Mediterranee, and Meridiana, the largest private airline in Southern Europe. With Fiat profits slumping, such holdings are increasingly important in the family portfolio.

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