CEO of Pastificio Rana
Gian Luca Rana was born on December 20, 1965 in Verona, Italy. His successful career thus far derives from his choice to live a substantial, conscious and challenging life.
In 1986, he joined the company alongside his father and brought with him ideas that would forever change the future of Giovanni Rana. We can say that Gian Luca Rana was “born” in the Rana pasta factory as his life has always been deeply connected to this reality. His unconditional love for the Giovanni Rana company allowed him to see a different future for it, a future that nobody else dared to dream of.
During this time, Giovanni Rana Company was a small artisanal business, with a revenue of 15 million euros, only 35 employees, 7 products and a distribution limited to Italy only.
Motivated and resolute, driven by his hunger for knowledge and experimenting, he started his professional path that brought him to be gradually involved in all of the firm’s functions.
First, Gian Luca Rana was responsible for the purchasing, then for the production process, working on the production lines side by side with workers and mechanics, then immersing himself in the industrial and technical development. His ability to experience the company in such a full way led him to achieve a deep knowledge of the products, to become an essential point of reference for the company. It is thanks to this knowledge that Gian Luca Rana realized the still unexplored potentialities of fresh pasta and the key role that innovation holds in the change process that drives Giovanni Rana Company into the future. This thirst for exploration and experimentation inspired him to create the company’s first Research and Development Center, an incubator of ideas for new products, new ranges, and recipes. However, the innovation drift doesn’t end with the final product but it involves the whole production process. “First you come up with an idea and then you think about how to realize it”: it was with this mantra that Gian Luca Rana set out to develop dozens of patented machineries and production processes, exclusively proprietary to Giovanni Rana Company. This era of change had begun with Gian Luca Rana and became a standard feature in the growth trajectory of the Giovanni Rana Company.
From Managing Director then to now CEO, Gian Luca Rana employs a strategy that allows him to consolidate the Giovanni Rana brand on the Italian fresh pasta market, becoming its absolute leader. Giovanni Rana Company innovates and then standardizes the production process, diversifies the range of products founding new product categories – such as filled potato gnocchi – and revitalizing stagnant sectors – such as fresh sauces.
In the mid 90’s, Gian Luca Rana felt the need to reinforce and enlarge the footprint to become market leader not only in Italy but also on the international stage. Through a series of important acquisitions, such as the Belgian Mamma Lucia firm, Giovanni Rana Company established a strong presence in the ready meals sector ushering in an acceleration to the globalization of the Company. Once the European leadership position was conquered and consolidated, in 2012, Gian Luca Rana opened his first overseas plant in Chicago, Illinois, with the aim of producing and distributing refrigerated pasta and sauces in the U.S. Giovanni Rana products were so successful that the U.S. sales volume (starting from scratch) reached 146 million dollars in only 3 years. To maintain this rapid growth and demand, a second U.S. plant is being built.
In 2009, Gian Luca Rana had another important intuition under the strategic point of view: to make the consumption of refrigerated pasta and sauces a daily and accessible habit also outside of the home. This idea led to expansion to the food service industry, bringing 22 “Giovanni Rana” restaurants throughout Italy. This “show food” formula combines the quality and freshness of Giovanni Rana products with the heritage of the Italian culinary tradition. In 2011, this spirit was introduced in London, Luxemburg, Berlin and New York. Gian Luca considers this new food service offer an extraordinary spotlight under which new recipes are “put on stage”, the Company can test and taste new innovative dishes that will become the retail products of tomorrow.
Visionary, innovator, obsessed with quality, in 30 years, Gian Luca has succeeded in transforming a local family business into an exceptional and successful “pocket international company.” However, it makes him that much happier to know that he was able to bring an artisanal tradition, local and jagged like the Italian filled fresh pasta to 38 countries around the world.
Thanks to a wise balance between tradition and technological innovation, Gian Luca Rana honored the idea of “Made in Italy” around the world. Furthermore, he brought the small artisanal family business from San Giovanni Lupatoto founded by his father to a worldwide leader in refrigerated pasta, sauces and ready meals while keeping Giovanni Rana’s artisanal and value centered spirit.
In 30 years, the Giovanni Rana Company has reached a sales volume of 586 million euros, but what matters most is the growing Rana family 35 to 2,500 people.
From 2005 to 2009 Gian Luca Rana was president of Confindustria Verona, a consortium of 1500 companies. He is the youngest entrepreneur since the postwar period who was able to obtain this position in the most eminent system of representation of the Italian industrial sector. Since the beginning, he became spokesperson of the “Business Ethics” concept, which aims to promote a personal involvement between entrepreneurial spirit and passion for the local territory development, made possible through innovation, internationalization and business networking.
From 2005 to 2014 he was board member of Banco Popolare di Verona.
Furthermore, Gian Luca is also board member of the Fontainbleau INSEAD, which has been ranked the first business school in the world by The Financial Times.
In 2010 he was nominated President of Athesis, an editorial group which includes newspapers (L’Arena, Giornale di Vicenza, Brescia Oggi), radios, TV broadcasters and digital platforms.
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