An entrepreneur at heart, though a man of letters, Franco Cologni was quick to embark on a business career that would lead him to key roles within the Richemont Group.
Certain individuals, through merit, become inseparable from the activity in which they excel. Franco Cologni is one. He has left his mark on the world of watches and jewellery, yet as a young man seemed destined for a career far removed from time measurement. A graduate of literature and philosophy from the Catholic University of Milan, his first experience was as a teacher of theatre history and a journalist. Alas, man cannot live by words alone. Other projects awaited Franco Cologni and his entrepreneurial spirit.
In 1969 he set up Tobako International, a manufacturer and distributor of high-end products including the famous Cartier lighter, the first to carry the brand’s Must label. This was a foot on the ladder that Franco Cologni would climb within Cartier, ascending to the role of Chairman in 2000. From there, he went on to occupy highly strategic functions within Richemont as the multinational developed its watch and jewellery business around Cartier. At the same time, Franco Cologni has played a prominent role in perpetuating expertise, and is the founder of Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte, and Creative Academy for design and creative management.