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Paolo Rocca

Paolo Rocca (born October 14, 1952) is a prominent Italian Argentine businessman.

Life and times

Paolo Rocca was born in Milan.[1] His father, Roberto Rocca, was a mechanical engineer and the son of Agostino Rocca, a prominent member of the Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale (IRI, the centerpiece of the Mussolini regime's corporate state) from 1933 to 1941, and the founder of Techint, in 1945. The Roccas had left Italy in 1946, and settled in Buenos Aires. They retained close ties to the old country, however, and returned often to close business deals (including the acquisition of the senior Rocca's erstwhile employer, steelmaker Dalmine, in 1954).[2]

Paolo Rocca anrolled at the University of Milan, earning a degree in Political Science. He later enrolled at the Harvard Business School, earning apostgraduate degree.[3] Following the founder's death in 1978, the presidency of Techint was transferred to Roberto Rocca, Paolo's father, and in 1985, the younger Rocca joined Techint as his father's assistant, reaching the rank of executive vice president in 1990.[4] Techint participated in the privatization drive adopted by President Carlos Menem in the early 1990s, purchasing a majority stake in Argentina's then-leading steel manufacturer, the state-owned Somisa, in 1992.

Rocca converted Somisa into Siderar, and integrated led Techint into the development of an integrated Techint's cold rolled steel operations (for which Somisa had long been a leading supplier, reportedly at a loss to the state concern) into Siderca. Between 1992 and 1996 Siderar raised its share of domestic consumption of flat steel (used in major aplliances and the auto industry, among others) from about 56 percent to about 79 percent.[5] The group's acquisition of Tubos de Acero de Mexico (Tamsa, a steel tube maker) in 1993 resulted in the appointment of Paolo Rocca as the unit's director.[4]

Agostino Rocca, Paolo's eler brother, became president of Techint in 1993, and of Siderca in 1996. He lost his life, however, in an April 28, 2001, aviation accident in Patagonia.[6] Paolo Rocca was appointed to the presidency, overseeing the listing of Siderca was on the NYSE and the reorganization of Techint's steel operations, the group's centerpiece, as Tenaris, of which he became president on October 22, 2002. Basing the subsidiary in Luxembourg, the move converted Techint into a holding company.[7] His surviving elder brother, Gian Felice Rocca, remained in Milan, serving as president of the group operating the Humanitas Clinic.

Under Rocca's tenure, Techint established ProPymes, designed to promote its network of over 300 small business suppliers,[8] and merged Sidor (a leading Venezuelan steelmaker acquired in 1998), Hylsamex (acquired in Mexico), and its Argentine Siderar name into Ternium, a Luxembourg steelmaker acquired in 2005.[4]

The decision of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to nationalize Sidor came on the heels of a series of industrial disputes over the previous year.[9] [10] Compensation of around US$1.65 billion was agreed for the nationalisation of Ternium's 60% stake in Sidor, with the former keeping a 10% stake in the company,[11] but frictions emerged with the Kirchner administration in Argentina over their reported refusal to raise objections to the nationalization with President Chávez.[12]

The Techint Group, which from 2003 to 2008 had invested US$2.3 billion in its Argentine operations,[12] responded with Rocca's announcement that the conglomerate's trade finance operations would be transferrd to neighboring Uruguay.[13]

Rocca was named president of the World Steel Association on October 13, 2009.[14]




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