The chairman and CEO of Pininfarina, Andrea Pininfarina, 51, has been killed in a motorcycle accident near the company’s HQ in Cambiano, near Turin.
Reports from Italy have confirmed that a car hit Pininfarina’s Vespa scooter as he commuted to work this morning. The driver said he "just didn't see" Pininfarina.
Pininfarina was the grandson of company founder Battista Pinin Farina and shares executive duties at Pininfarina with three other family members — his father Sergio is honorary chairman, brother Paolo is vice-chairman and sister Lorenza sits on the board.
Today the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said in a statement Pininfarina was "the representative of a dynasty that helped bring the story of 'made in Italy' to the world."
The tragedy will hit the tight-knit Italian design community hard and comes at a crucial time in the re-structuring of loss-making Pininfarina.
New investors, including Piero Ferrari, Ratan Tata and Vincent Bollore, are due to inject £80m into Pininfarina to re-capitalise the company.
As a result, the Pininfarina family will cede control of the company for the first time since it was founded by Battista Farina in the 1930s.
But Fiat and Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo paid tribute to Pininfarina's business acument today: "Italy, Turin and the Fiat group have lost a business figure who knew how to follow and develop the work of his grandfather Pinin and his father Sergio."
Currently the Pininfarina family controls around 55 per cent of the company. When the cash injection is complete, that will dilute to 30 per cent.
The investors will also bring vital new business. Pininfarina wil design and build a new electric car family for the French industrialist Bollore. It will also set-up a new design centre in India for Tata.