Franco Cologni is an Italian entrepreneur, author and cultural authority who holds a degree in philosophy and letters from the Università Cattolica in his native Milan.
Before embarking on a fruitful and rewarding path in the world of business, Dr. Cologni was a cultural critic and professor of history of performing arts at his alma mater, and this profound knowledge and love of culture would shape and inform his eminent career in the world of luxury.
In 1969, Dr. Cologni joined Cartier and four years later he founded the first of the world-famous jeweler’s branches outside of France, Les Must de Cartier Italia. He went on to become Managing Director and Chairman of Cartier International. When Cartier was integrated into Richemont, he acted as Senior Executive Director in the luxury group and was named member of the Board of Compagnie Financière Richemont in 2002.
A champion of creativity as well as culture, Dr. Cologni built and leads a number of organisations to further these ideals. In 1995, he founded the Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte which works to protect and promote the heritage of master craftsmanship throughout Italy. In 2004, he opened the Creative Academy in Milan, Richemont’s unique post-graduate international school of design. He was also highly instrumental in founding in 2005 the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, an organisation that promotes the culture and values of fine watchmaking.
I am sure that the time is ripe now for the emergence of an ‘artisan humanism’ everywhere and this foundation will bring key actors together to create a network to stimulate and sustain this movement.
A prolific author and editor, Dr. Cologni has distinguished himself as a specialist in the relationship between culture and luxury. He has written or edited numerous books, magazines and articles related to the history of the performing arts, luxury products, the applied arts, watchmaking, jewelry and fine craftsmanship. He has also commissioned a wide variety of publications and exhibitions on these subjects in his role as President of the Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte.
Dr. Cologni’s work and his dedication to the promotion of culture have been recognized by some of the most prestigious accolades. In 2002, he was named Cavaliere del Lavoro in Italy for his outstanding entrepreneurship and cultural expertise. In 2012, for his contribution to culture and economics, the President of France named him a Knight in the National Order of Merit, Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters and Officer in the Legion of Honour.