Can you first tell us about yourself and your career path?
I am 39 years old and a dual Italian and Swiss national. I live in Pully, near to Lausanne. I studied International Relations (Hautes Etudes Internationales) in Geneva, where I graduated (Master Degree) in 2002. My interests during my studies were mainly focused on International Organisations, History and Development Economics. However, these subjects were never as appealing to me as sport, which I felt I needed to study and learn more about.. That is how I ended up applying to the FIFA Masters in 2002 (third edition). I would add about this change of career path that I always thought, and I still do, that my background in International Relations would be a great asset to better understand the complexities of sport in today's society and help in improving how it is governed and managed.
Following graduation, I started an internship in sports event management at the Sport Council of the City of Lausanne where I gained awareness of the reality and limits, both from a budgetary and a political standpoint, associated with the organisation of important sporting events.
When I finished this internship, I joined the world of International Federations, working for FIVB (Fédération Internationale de Volleyball) as Marketing & Events Leader. Here, I gained a lot of experience - especially in learning and understanding the balance of power governing the relations between the main entities interacting in the world of sports (International Federations, National Federations, Sponsors and TV broadcasters).
At the end of 2007, I left the sports world, following the offer of a General Manager position in a Swiss Promotion and Events agency called Promotion-Tools AG based in Zurich. This involved managing a pool of 1,800 active promoters in Switzerland, and more than 50,000 promotion days and 15,000 merchandising days.
Finally in 2011, as I was not totally happy with my last experience in this field and as I felt that I needed a new challenge, I joined CIES as Corporate Development Manager.
What links do you have with the sport world?
I have played football since I was 7 years old, and I have always been active in sport ever since. I also played tennis, squash and basketball for a while. I have always enjoyed all facets of a given activity, and that is why I have also been a referee and now a coach in football. This is especially so since a serious injury has stopped my playing career.
Who is your favourite sportsman and why?
I would like to rephrase the question to: what is your favourite team? As I have only two true passions in sport: Juventus and the “Squadra Azzura” (Italian football national Team). I also really enjoy watching skiing (because of my swiss origins) and strangely I support Swiss skiers in this sport and not Italians. Other sports that I really enjoy following are tennis, basketball (NBA) and hockey (Swiss and NHL). However, if I had to answer your question and pick just one sportsman, I would say Roberto Baggio who played for both the Italian national football team and the Juventus team in the 90’s. He was different from the other players, a kind of “genius” that I really liked to see play.
What are your special areas of expertise within the CIES?
Working as Corporate Development Manager, my main task is to raise the awareness of the CIES brand and activities which means that I am in charge of all marketing and advertising activities but also of our representation and attendance at events and conferences.
This also includes supporting the creation and development of contacts with the sports industry, the management of media relations, overseeing the creation and diffusion of promotion/communication materials, the development and protection of the CIES and FIFA Master brands and the development of the CIES internet and social media pages. I also help to manage and develop FIFA Master placement opportunities.
Maintaining good relations with our different stakeholders is crucial since this is what can make the difference between being number 1 or number 2 in the world.
How does the FIFA Master concretely impact the sports industry?
On this topic I agree with Tim Goethals, the FMA (FIFA Master Alumni) president who said that “it is by forming top professionals who will become the sports industry leaders of tomorrow”.
Indeed, with over 90 per cent of our 355 FIFA Master graduates now working in sport and in international organizations, the FIFA Master reaches across all continents and all sports.
In addition, this prestigious academic programme has been named, for two consecutive years (2012 and 2013), as the leading postgraduate sports management course in Europe which speaks for itself.