Nerio Nesi, the ‘red banker’ who loved Cavour, has died, he was 99 years old

He had a long militancy in the socialist left with his closeness to its leader, Riccardo Lombardi. In 1982 the break with Craxi

“Red banker” par excellence even if he preferred the definition of “supplementary banker” (holding the positions, among others, of vice president of the Cassa di Risparmio di Torino and president of the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro), with a long militancy in the left socialist with his closeness to his leader, Riccardo Lombardi, Nerio Nesi, who died at the age of 99 in Turin, his adopted city, was a leading protagonist in industry and finance as well as in politics.

After having been involved in the Christian Democrats, in 1960 Nesi joined the PSI, of which he was a leader for a long time. In controversy with the secretary Bettino Craxi, he left the Socialist Party in 1982; in 1996 he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in the ranks of the communist Rifondazione and in 2001 in the ranks of the Ulivo (part of the PdCi). He was also Minister of Public Works in the Amato II government.

A character with vast cultural interests, a friend of the great Turin philosopher Norberto Bobbio, with whom he discussed extensively on the issues of liberal-socialism, Nesi also cultivated a passion for the most famous of Piedmontese statesmen, Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, until become president of the Cavour Foundation, passing the baton to Marco Boglione in 2020, and therefore assuming the role of honorary president. Also for this reason he was an honorary citizen of Santena, where the Cavour Castle which hosts the Foundation is located.

Born in Bologna on 16 June 1925, after having participated in the Resistance as a very young partisan in Emilia, Nerio Nesi graduated in law from the University of his city. He began his career working from 1950 to 1958, in Turin, in the administrative management of Rai, over time holding the positions of head of the Tax Office and, then, director of the Administrative Affairs Service.

From 1958 to 1970 he was director of Financial Services of the Olivetti group in Ivrea. In 1965 he entered the banking system: he was vice president of the Cassa di Risparmio di Torino, managing director of the Subalpina Bank, director of the Banca Popolare di Milano, vice president of the Istituto di Credito per le Imprese di Public Utilita and, since 1978 to 1989, president of the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro. A few months before the end of Nesi’s presidency, in August 1989, the scandal of Bnl’s credit exposure to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq emerged through the Atlanta branch. Nesi was the founder of the first Italian leasing company and of the real economy research company “Nomisma”.

Author of numerous essays on economic-financial matters, Nesi has published five books: “The banks of the crisis”, “The code of banking appointments”, “Complementary banker”, “Capitalism and globalisation”, “Epistolary with Norberto Bobbio”.

In 1995 Nesi joined the Communist Refoundation Party and was elected deputy in Liguria in 1996: he was president of the Productive Activities, Commerce, Tourism and Scientific Research Commission in the Chamber. In 1998, however, he broke away from Fausto Bertinotti’s party, as he was against the no-confidence vote that the PRC gave to Romano Prodi’s government and was among the founders of the Italian Communist Party. During the second government led by Giuliano Amato he was Minister of Public Works from 28 April 2000 to 12 June 2001. In the 2000 regional elections he ran for the presidency of the Lombardy Region for the PdCI, obtaining 2.0% of the votes.

In 2001 he ran again for the PdCi as a deputy in Liguria and was elected in the Ulivo coalition, assuming the position of vice president of the Environment, Territory and Public Works Commission in the Chamber. In March 2004 he controversially left the Italian Communists to join the Italian Democratic Socialists with whom he participated in the “Socialist Unity” project. In 2008 he approached the Democratic Party.

Nesi was president of the Italian and Spanish Cultural Association, president of the Gianfranco Pittatore Foundation of Alessandria, president of the Riccardo Lombardi National Association, councilor of the Bnl Foundation – Bnp Paribas Group, honorary president of the Coordination Committee of the Small Shareholders’ Associations, honorary president of the Parliamentary Association “Juventus Club Giovanni Agnelli”. He was awarded the honorary titles of Knight Grand Cross of the Republic and Knight of Labor, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic. In 2001 he married the cardiologist Patrizia Presbitero. (Of Paolo Martini)