Marco Volpato is the chairman of Italian machinery company Cannon. He spent an hour talking to Simon Robinson about his company, his life, and his plans for the future.
Discreetly positioned by the entrance to Marco Volpato’s office at Cannon’s headquarters is a framed copy of cheque for $500,000.
The story of that cheque, and the company which won it, is a story of persistence in the face of adversity, considerable intelligence and a level of complexity, which is unfashionable in the world of business today.
The man responsible for most of this is Marco Volpato, who gave up a promising career in advanced mathematics and computer science to drive one of Italy’s leading family companies to one of the top spots in polyurethane machinery.
That story was recognised last year by Germany’s foamed plastics association (FSK), which presented Marco Volpato with a medal of honour in September 2015.
Cannon was founded in 1962 by Volpato’s father Leonardo, who originally made equipment for spray polyester systems.
As Volpato explained, “My father was on a business trip in France and saw a Drostholm machine, working. He saw the foam come up and he was fascinated. Then he decided that he needed to concentrate on this technology.”
Volpato senior was joined by Carlo Fiorentini in 1965 and together they started…