Transforming a company from a small local business to a large multinational organization, while still retaining his attachment to his roots and his strong bond with the region and community of Verona: this is the two-fold challenge that Gian Luca Rana has been tackling for 35 years.
Gian Luca Rana and his love for the land of his birth
“For me, Verona is much more than just the city where I was born and raised”, Gian Luca reveals. “It is a community to which I want to give so much in terms of commitment, and not just through my role as CEO of Pastificio Rana. I have fulfilled the various institutional roles that I have held over the years with love and a passion for actively contributing to the development of my hometown.”
From 2005 to 2009, Gian Luca Rana was the youngest businessperson in the post-Second World War period to hold the position of chairman of the Verona branch of the General Confederation of Italian Industry (Confindustria Verona). The strategic assets on which he based his plan for the growth and development of the local businesses were innovation, affiliation and internationalization.
“I always tried to live up to this paradigm during my mandate”, Gian Luca explains, “a mandate that I carried out as a duty, putting myself on the frontline and always promoting the concept of professional ethics.”
In 2005, Gian Luca joined the board of directors of one of the first cooperative banks in Italy, the Banco Popolare di Verona (now part of the BPM group), where he remained until 2014.
“I felt like I wanted to repay my commitment to a community and region that had played an active part in the success that Pastificio Rana had obtained over the years”, said the CEO about his experience.
Since 2010, he has held the position of chairman of Società Athesis, the publisher of one of the most long-lived and prestigious newspapers in Italy, L’Arena, and of other important newspapers such as Brescia Oggi and Il Giornale di Vicenza, as well as of numerous television and radio channels.
“For me, this was a further way of putting myself at the disposal of the [Verona] region”, Gian Luca declares, “and to give a voice to and represent all the entities that are an important reference point for the small and medium-sized enterprises of our country.”
Pastificio Rana becomes a global organization: Gian Luca Rana’s contribution
Although his heart remains inextricably bound to the city where his company first came into being and began to grow, Gian Luca Rana’s vision has always been turned towards the world and the future. In 2012, after having steered Pastificio Rana to its position as market leader in Europe, the CEO decided to head to the United States. This American challenge began with the construction of the Chicago production plant and achieved success more rapidly than expected thanks to a comprehensive strategy of internationalization devised by Gian Luca, who had studied the American market for years in order to thoroughly grasp its needs and eating habits.
Pastificio Rana’s success in the United States is also demonstrated by the figures that led IRI and Boston Group in 2019 to recognize the company as one of the top 5 fastest growing companies on the US market for 3 consecutive years.
While the results Pastificio Rana has obtained overseas are extraordinary, the rewards for Gian Luca Rana arrived on both a company and a personal level. In 2018, Pastificio Rana won the Premio Eccellenze d’Impresa (Business Excellence Award) thanks to the strategy of internationalization its CEO had conceived, and the following year, Gian Luca was awarded the International Awareness Award by Fordham University, one of New York’s most prestigious universities.
Referring to this personal recognition, Gian Luca remarked during the speech he gave from the university’s podium in New York: “When you have a mission to accomplish and you want to leave your own mark, everything becomes clear. Every effort has a significance and every difficulty offers an opportunity to improve, to learn and to prosecute your life plan.” Gian Luca Rana has always transformed these words into action, both in the life of the company and throughout his institutional career.
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