And Now, For Francesco Caio's Next Trick...

He built a private cellular system in Italy. Can he fix Olivetti?

He's bound to fail. That was the assessment of many critics in 1994, when Olivetti Chief Carlo De Benedetti picked Francesco Caio, a young telecommunications consultant from McKinsey & Co., to set up Italy's first private cellular telephone network. The betting was that the state phone company would use its muscle to block the upstart at every turn. Caio, however, overcame these obstacles to turn Omnitel Pronto Italia into one of Europe's most successful cellular networks, capturing 300,000 subscribers in its first six months of operation. In the proc-ess he created a promising new business for Olivetti, which controls 41% of Omnitel.

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