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After being something of a lifer at Italian bank Mediobanca, its CCO Lorenza Pigozzi left after 21 years last November to join shipbuilding giant Fincantieri as head of communications and external relations.
Pigozzi held various roles at Mediobanca, becoming director of communication and institutional relations in 2013, with responsibility for managing the brand’s reputation throughout two leadership changes, as well as during the Eurozone debt crisis.
Fincantieri, which was founded 230 years ago and last year had revenues of €6.7 billion, operates 18 shipyards around the world and has more than 21,000 employees. It is the only global shipbuilder operating in all marine industry sectors, including the construction of cruise, naval, and offshore vessels for the oil, gas and wind energy sectors, as well as marine interiors, advanced systems, electronics digital technology and cybersecurity.
At the time of her appointment, Pigozzi told PRovoke Media: “I decided to joint Fincantieri thinking of a new challenge in the industrial sector at the higher level. The group’s global recognition in many markets is truly an asset; the challenge will be to boost its role as a top reputable Italian global corporation.” Fincantieri CEO Pierroberto Folgiero said her experience would be “fundamental to starting an innovative path in managing the challenges related to group positioning, brand reputation and ESG issues.”
Pigozzi joined Mediobanca in 2001 as head of knowledge management. Two years later, at a time of major changes in the bank’s governance, she was tasked with leading communications from a standing start, as the bank had never had a media relations lead. During her time at the bank, Pigozzi was responsible for group media relations, media planning, advertising, marketing, social and digital, CSR, corporate identity and institutional events. She steered Mediobanca through its diversification from corporate and investment banking into retail, consumer and wealth management.
Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR’s direct impact on business performance?
I spent many challenging years, in which we have had to deal with the activism of some significant shareholders in an attempt to discredit the soundness of our company's operations. Reinforcing the correctness of our actions and the effectiveness of our growth plans, in the media and through opinion leaders, has meant that our various target audiences have never questioned the soundness of our plans and operations.
What are the communications industry’s biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead?
The communications industry faces challenges like mistrust, misinformation and the Covid-19 pandemic. Companies should prioritize transparency, accountability, and innovative solutions to build trust, combat false information and adapt communication strategies in the changing scenario. On the other hand, digital transformation, new tools like AI, purpose-driven communication, collaborations, and creative content offer opportunities for building engagement and brand recognition. Despite the challenges, the communications industry can harness new opportunities and navigate the year ahead with resilience by leveraging innovation, technology, and ethical practices.
What have you most admired about the communications industry over the past year, and what has disappointed you?
The communications industry has long been recognized for its crucial role in shaping public opinion, building trust, and engaging consumers. From crisis management to content creation to social media and data analytics, the industry constantly evolves to meet the ever-changing tactics and strategies demanded by its clients. However, the industry is not without its challenges, and some elements have received criticism over the years for their potentially objectionable practices. One of the most significant criticisms is the issue of misinformation, where the industry has been accused of spin or intentionally distorting the truth to mislead the public and media for its own ends. Such unethical practices can perpetuate mistrust and scepticism in the industry’s methods.
Another concern is the lack of diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry. While the global workforce is becoming more diverse, the communications industry remains mostly homogeneous. It's essential for the industry to recognize this and take proactive steps to engage underrepresented populations and become more diverse. Furthermore, the industry can sometimes find itself in a challenging ethical position when working with clients who hold competing interests. This conflict can occur, for instance, with media or activist communities where the communication industry intends to promote its client’s messages to the detriment of accurately representing public interests.
What work from your team are you most proud of over the past year?
I am most proud of my team's values, sense of belonging, sacrifices, resilience, and positive attitudes over the past year. They have consistently demonstrated a commitment to collaboration, inclusivity, and respect, embodying the values that are essential for a high-performing team. Their unwavering sense of belonging and support for one another have been the driving force behind their success, allowing them to stay connected and remain productive even when physically apart. I am especially proud of the sacrifices they have made to achieve their goals. They have shown remarkable resilience in adapting to new challenges and rising to meet them head-on. Through it all, they have maintained a positive attitude that is essential for success. They smile even when they are exhausted, and their passion and enthusiasm for their work continue to shine through.
How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness over the past year?
Over the past year, I have prioritized my wellness by disconnecting from work and engaging in activities I love. Spending time with my children has been a source of joy, and I have also focused on my physical health through sports. Additionally, I have indulged in reading books and spending quality time with friends, both of which have contributed to my overall well-being. By maintaining a balance between work and personal life, I have been able to reduce stress and improve my mental and physical well-being.
Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through the past year or provided inspiration?
Being a curious person, I devoted a lot of time to reading a diverse range of books. I also found solace and inspiration in watching numerous movies and TV shows. Music, particularly in classical genres, has been a constant source of comfort and energy for me. I also enjoy listening to podcasts. They have been a great source of entertainment and learning, empowering me to explore new topics and ideas. Some of my favorite podcasts include news and politics, business and technology, and arts and culture.
If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
I would be a psychologist. The human mind has always fascinated me, and I have a deep interest in understanding human behavior and emotions. Additionally, I am drawn to the research aspect of psychology, as I find it fascinating to uncover new insights, analyze data, and develop new theories. Ultimately, psychology combines my passion for research, my desire to help people, and my interest in understanding the complexities of the human mind and behavior.
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