On August 19, 2023, investment company Immsi Società per azioni (S.p.a., a type of corporation in Italy) announced the death of Roberto Colaninno, who was chairman and CEO of the Piaggio Group. Holding company Immsi counts the Piaggio Group among its holdings, and Piaggio is the parent company of well-known two- and three-wheeler brands Vespa, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, and Piaggio. Colaninno was 80 years old. 

Widely regarded as a strong dealmaker in the Italian business world, Colaninno is credited with helping to turn around Piaggio’s fortunes after Immsi acquired it in 2003. Under his guidance, the Group focused expansion efforts in Asia, particularly marketing Vespa and Piaggio scooters in geographic regions where scooters are extremely popular forms of transportation.  

The deal to purchase Piaggio transpired after Colaninno had attempted to purchase Italian automaker Fiat and was unsuccessful. Thanks to that turn of events, however, he’s credited with turning Piaggio’s fortunes around. In 2022 and 2023, the company has posted its highest profit levels in its history, and it’s safe to say that Piaggio and its brands would be very different today if it wasn’t for Colaninno’s leadership. 

Piaggio also issued a short statement on the death of Colaninno, echoing the public statement issued by Immsi. The cause of death was not given, but Colaninno had reportedly just celebrated his 80th birthday last week. 

Colaninno is survived by his wife, Oretta, and two sons, Matteo and Michele. Tributes continue to pour in around the world. Over the weekend, at the 2023 Austrian MotoGP round, organizers held a minute of silence in honor of Colaninno’s passing.

A short video of this minute of silence was shared on social media across multiple of Aprilia’s worldwide channels. Aprilia MotoGP team riders Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró finished in sixth and ninth places, respectively. In the world championship standings, Espargaró sits in seventh place and Viñales in tenth following this racing weekend. 

According to the Gazzetta di Mantova newspaper, it is believed that his funeral is being held as a very private event for the family. We at RideApart send our condolences to Colaninno’s family and friends, as well as all the lives he touched during his lifetime. 

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